What is Biodiversity?Biodiversity refers to the orchestra of life on earth – the way organisms depend on one another in uncountable ways for food, habitat, protection, and much, much more. Like a mural that stretches far beyond your peripheral vision, biodiversity is an idea you can’t absorb all at once. Scientists have barely scratched the surface of its complexity. Yet the little we do know points to the fact that biodiversity is essential to bringing balance and order to the ecological systems we depend on. Scientist and environmentalist E.O. Wilson, a leading voice on the topic of biodiversity, likens it to the planet’s insurance policy. Its loss means greater risk of failure for all remaining species, humans included.
Biodiversity and Certified OrganicCertified organic foods must follow a set of rules enforced by annual third-party inspections. Those rules, called organic standards, instruct farmers on what not to do by forbidding things like GMOs and chemical inputs. They also guide farmers toward a way of farming that purposefully benefits biodiversity. Here are a few biodiversity-friendly practices every organic farm must follow:
Protect and Improve Soil Health
Maintain Diversity on the FarmDiversity attracts diversity. Organic rules ban the practice of monocropping. By growing multiple species together in their fields, organic farmers decrease the possibility of damage by pests and disease (whose populations can explode when given acres and acres of their favorite food). This also encourages a greater diversity of creatures on their farm – from invertebrates like bees and other beneficial insects to frogs and snakes, birds and bats, and small mammals. Farmers benefit from the animals they attract to their farm in the form of increased pollination of their crops and fewer insect and rodent pests. The animals benefit by having enough habitat and food sources to maintain a healthy population.
Use Organic SeedsBy requiring the use of organic seeds, organic certification inadvertently supports genetic diversity. This is because the organic seed industry is far more concerned than its conventional counterpart with producing open-pollinated seeds (a type of seed-breeding that allows for maximum genetic diversity). Organic seed companies favor qualities like disease resistance, drought tolerance, and nutritional content over looks and storage life.
Would you like to be the first to hear about our new products and more?
Sign up for our Nature’s Path Newsletter.