Down with the nitrogen

According to a new study from The University of Virginia The Oganic centre, organic farming can help reduce nitrogen pollution on a global scale. Reason for this is that organic farming recycles nitrogen, thus creating far less reactive nitrogen than conventional agriculture. Organic farms use recycled sources for 80 percent or more of the nitrogen used to grow food, meaning less reactive nitrogen is released into the atmosphere, ground and water.

With previous findings that organic farming practices keep more carbon in the soil – and out of the atmosphere – than other farming methods, this study shows that organic food and farming create a cleaner global environment.

“Agriculture adds a large amount of nitrogen into the environment during the food production process,” said Jessica Shade, director of science programs for The Organic Center. Shade has a doctorate in integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Nitrogen in some form is required for all life. Most nitrogen is found in the air and can’t be used by plants or other living things, and does not contribute to air or water pollution. But when that nitrogen goes through a chemical process, it becomes reactive. Reactive nitrogen is what’s used for plant and animal growth, but it also can cause a host of environmental problems. More and more of the benign nitrogen on Earth is being transformed into the reactive form, primarily through the creation of synthetic fertilizer.

Source: The Organic Center

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