Is natural and organic farming the same thing?

To start, let’s define both terms, so we have a clear understanding of natural and organic farming principals.

“Natural Farming is a farming practice that imitates the way of nature,” it was created in Japan by Masanobu Fukuoka and Mokichi Okada. It is described as “the natural way of farming” or “do-nothing farming.” Source: Maunakeatea 

“Organic farming is a holistic system designed to optimize the productivity and fitness of diverse communities within the agro-ecosystem, including soil organisms, plants, livestock and people. The principal goal of organic production is to develop enterprises that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.” Source: Omafra

Similarly, I have heard many people speak highly of organic farming/foods because they don’t use pesticides, fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics or GMO’s and their reason for supporting this form of agriculture is because of the elimination of these items.

What’s the difference between organic and natural? Isn’t “natural food” just as safe and healthy as organic food? Unfortunately, natural does not mean organic and comes with no guarantees. “Natural foods” are often assumed to be foods that are minimally processed and do not contain any hormones, antibiotics or artificial flavors.

In natural farming there no plowing, no tilting of soil and no fertilizers, and no weeding is done just the way it would be in natural ecosystems. organic farming can be defined as: an integrated farming system that strives for sustainability, the enhancement of soil fertility and biological diversity whilst, with rare exceptions, prohibiting synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, and growth hormones.

Three important differences between natural farming & organic farming:

1) Cost: Organic farming is more expensive than natural farming because it requires using large amounts of organic fertilizers & manure on the land bought from those who sell them.

2) Effort: Organic farming requires activities such as mixing of manures or compost, plowing, and tilting whereas there is no plowing or tilting or fertilizers in natural farming. “In natural farming, decomposition of organic matter by microbes & earthworms is encouraged right on the soil surface itself, which slowly releases nutrients into the soil”.

3) Environmental impact: Organic farming has an effect on the surrounding environment while natural farming does not & it conforms with local biodiversity.To combine the “goods” of both worlds, my approach is to apply little of organic farming & more of natural farming. Sometimes, the use of chemical fertilizers becomes necessary but overdoing it is better avoided.

Organic farming is a system of farming which is dependent entirely on organic sources for crop nutrition and crop husbandry, while natural farming refers to farming with nature and without chemicals.The principal differences between organic farming and natural farming are as follows:

  1. In organic farming, organic fertilizers and manures like compost, vermi-compost, manure etc. are used and added to soils from external sources, while in natural farming, neither chemical nor organic fertilizers are added to the soils.
  2. Organic farming needs basic agricultural practices like ploughing, mixing of manures, weeding etc. to be performed, while natural farming don’t needs such agricultural practices.
  3. Organic farming is expensive due to the requirement of bulk manures, while natural farming is an extremely low-cost farming method, completely molding with local biodiversity.