Organic Principles

What does “ORGANIC” mean?

People choose “organic” food and food production for two main reasons:

  • HEALTH, including avoidance of chemical toxins in food (widely accepted as an issue), and superior nutrition (more debated).   Words often used with the focus on ORGANIC FOOD include “natural ingredients/materials only”; “chemical free”; “non-toxic”.  However some “natural” materials such as sprays based on Pyrethrum, Neem or Nicotine, will kill not only pests but all the beneficial insects etc too.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY, by reducing the addition of chemical toxins to the Environment.  Words often used re ORGANIC GARDENING.include “clean and green” and  “sustainable”;


  • However, SUSTAINABILITY means more than the above, in that a garden using only organic materials might still use large quantities of water, fuel (machinery, or materials transported from far away), or materials produced unsustainably (eg hay or straw grown on an unstainable farm), or woodchip sold as a by-product of clear-fell logging.  Many regard manure from inhumane cage egg farming as morally unsustainable.

Truly organic and sustainable food growing involves designing and operating our whole system of food production, including:

  • The materials we use
  • Our gardening practices
  • How we design our garden, incorporating beneficial plants and animals with yields other than “produce”
  • How we use our produce, including “waste”

Our aim at Clifton Community Food Garden is to use, model and teach organic and sustainable principles and practice, as best we can.  We hope to make related materials (eg: acceptable pesticides) available to members, with instruction for their use.