Organic agriculture is a holistic production management system which promote and enhance agroecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity.
A strict definition of organic agriculture is required to protect both producer and consumer interests. The most widely adopted definition of organic agriculture was developed and promoted by the International Federal of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), a non-governmental organization that has existed for 25 years.
IFOAM (1996) defines the "organic" term as referring to the particular farming system described in its Basic Standards. The "Principle Aims of Organic Agriculture and Processing" are based on the following equally important principles and ideas: to produce food of high nutritional quality in sufficient quantity; to interact in a constructive and life enhancing way with all natural systems and cycles; to encourage and enhance biological cycles within the farming system, involving micro organisms, soil flora and fauna, plants and animals; to maintain and increase long-term fertility of soils; to promote the healthy use and proper care of water, water resources and all life therein; to help in the conservation of soil and water; to use, as far as is possible, renewable resources in locally organized agricultural systems; to work, as far as possible, within a closed system with regard to organic matter and nutrient elements; to work, as far as possible, with materials and substances which can be reused or recycled, either on the farm or elsewhere; to give all livestock conditions of life which allow them to perform the basic aspects of their innate behaviour; to minimize all forms of pollution that may result from agricultural practices; to maintain the genetic diversity of the agricultural system and its surroundings, including the protection of plant and wildlife habitats; to allow everyone involved in organic production and processing a quality of life conforming to the UN Human Rights Charter, to cover their basic needs and obtain an adequate return and satisfaction from their work, including a safe working environment; to consider the wider social and ecological impact of the farming system; to produce non-food products from renewable resources, which are fully biodegradable; to encourage organic agriculture associations to function along democratic lines and the principle of division of powers; to progress towards an entire organic production chain, which is both socially just and ecologically responsible.
In the Netherlands, De Kleine Aarde has an environmental education centre which demonstrates and educates people about food production without exploiting people, soil or animals. It promotes discontinuing the use of chemicals, fertilisers and pesticides, saving energy and food and also eating mainly vegetables (much less meat because of the huge loss of food in 'modern' meat production).
Since its own land restoration and ecological agriculture development, Auroville (Tamil Nadu, India) has been running courses and seminars, and providing training and workshops on organic agriculture, afforestation, land care and social forestry. These are attended by villagers, tribals, social workers, academics, NGOs and administrators from India and abroad. In recent years Auroville "greenworkers" have increasingly gone out to share their experiences and help implements afforestation and land reclamation schemes throughout India.