ATTRA // Resource Guide to Organic & Sustainable Vegetable Production Page3333
1.4What is Sustainable Vegetable Production
For the purpose of an introduction,
can be characterized as follows:
Sustainable agriculture is a goal rather than aspecific set of farming practices. Progress ormovement toward the goal may be viewed as acontinuum.
A sustainable farming system strives to beproductive and profitable, while at the same timepreserving environmental quality and makingefficient use of nonrenewable resources.
Sustainable agriculture is concerned about thewell-being of rural communities and the qualityof life for families and farmworkers.
Though biological practices and products arefavored over chemical inputs, pesticides andfertilizers may be used within an IPMframework.One of the quickest ways to grasp
associated with sustainable vegetableproduction is to examine the guidelines and standardsfor integrated farming systems, such as:
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Crop Management
Integrated Farm ManagementIn some instances, point systems are employed tocertify the adoption of recommended bestmanagement practices. For example, a grower canearn points toward “certified IPM” status for sweetcorn through the use of cover crops, crop rotations,nitrogen fertilizer applied in split application, etc.To guide decisions on ways to approach sustainablefarming, it is helpful to become knowledgeable aboutthe principles of agroecology and sustainability.Ultimately, each farmer adopts their own approach.
Resource:Introduction to Sustainable Agriculture &Agroecology
ATTRA's Related Web Links Sitehttp://www.attra.org/rel.html
1.5What is Organic Vegetable Production
In a nutshell,
is based on thefollowing approaches and production inputs:
Strict avoidance of synthetic fertilizers andsynthetic pesticides
Crop rotations, crop residues, mulches
Animal manures and composts
Cover crops and green manures
Organic fertilizers and soil amendments
Biostimulants, humates, and seaweeds
Compost teas and herbal teas
Marine, animal, and plant by-products
Biorational, microbial, and botanical pesticides,and other natural pest control productsIn 1980, organic farming was defined by the USDAas a system that excludes the use of syntheticfertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators.Organic certification emerged as a grassrootsproduction and marketing tool during the 1970s and1980s to ensure that foods labeled “organic” metspecified standards of production. The OrganicFoods Production Act, a section of the 1990 FarmBill, enabled the USDA to develop a nationalprogram of universal standards, certificationaccreditation, and food labeling.In April 2001, the USDA released the Final Rule of the National Organic Program. This federal lawstipulates, in considerable detail, exactly what agrower can and cannot do to produce and market aproduct as organic. Application for certificationmust be made, paperwork completed, fees paid, andannual inspections undergone. To learn more aboutthe details of the certification process, see ATTRA's
Organic Certification & National Organic Program
information packet.A companion ATTRA publication—
Overview of Organic Crop Production
—is recommended to gaina better understanding of the history, philosophy, andpractices of organic farming.
Resource:An Overview of Organic Crop Production
By George Kuepper, ATTRAhttp://www.attra.org/attra-pub/organiccrop.html