ATTN! Quick questions for organic gardeners!


Jedi Council Member
Hello all,

I will be teaching an English course to French agriculture students. A significant part of the vocabulary will be giving them the English equivalents of various ideas, concepts, etc that they already know. As I am told that a significant proportion of these students are studying organic agriculture, I will be passing on organic gardening lingo such as

heirloom/hybrid/GMO seeds.

I would like to present the contrasting vocabulary for describing intensive agriculture vs. small-scale agriculture. Is this the proper modern lingo for these contrasting concepts? Also for example, we have mono-culture vs. ??? What is a modern expression that would be well-known to the well-informed describing the smaller and more diverse market garden that pre-occupies itself with soil rejuvenation? Also, is there a distinction currently between organic gardening and traditional gardening? Does traditional gardening have a special title right now?

I am reading "The Vegetarian Myth," so I am well aware that any kind of agriculture may have some serious flaws. I can not tell these kids they are studying crap, but it is well within my writ to present controversial ideas as the whole "argue a point of view" exercise is so important in French education.

Really... If you have any suggestions of what you would consider to be a well-known and important trend in organic agriculture, I would appreciate hearing about it. I don't want to take up people's time, so you don't need to explain it. Just the expression itself will allow me to research it.

And... Finally, if any of you can suggest a user-friendly web resource for organic gardening I would appreciate it; maybe some kind of organic gardening wikipedia? Thanks.

P.S. Are there any modern catch words for organic and/or alternative to the industrial method animal husbandry?


The Living Force
Hi Patience,

The Government of Canada, due to having 2 official languages, publishes all of it's information in both English and French. Often, when you find an English term, you can click the language flip (Top Left) and see the page in French to try to find the equivalent term.

Organics regulatory environment is handled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency ( If you look for their organics pages, there might be some terms you are looking for. Since Organics certification is handled by a third party, the CFIA site should link to that body and their info should also be available in both languages.

Using Google to search the Canadian government's websites is another way. In Google, start your search with followed by the search term (e.g. "natural pesticides")

There are probably a few other countries with multilingual sites, but I'm only familiar with the Government of Canada.

Hope that helps.



FOTCM Member
[quote author=Patience]
What is a modern expression that would be well-known to the well-informed describing the smaller and more diverse market garden that pre-occupies itself with soil rejuvenation?

Hi Patience,

One of the things i'm exploring is soil changes back to microbial and a friend's son has been studying this using fish fertilizer, molasses, water - couple of other things with a air system to oxygenate. It is something like a five day process and works to help rejuvenate living soil as opposed to the usual fertilized enhancements. Finally found the book which has a Pdf version hear and will get a chance to start reading.

The book is called 'Teaming with Microbes' and can be downloaded hear:


Teaming With Microbes enlightens readers in two important ways. First, in clear, straightforward language, it describes the activities of the organisms that make upthe soil food web , from the simplest of single-cell organisms to more familiar multicellular animals such as insects, worms, and mammals. Second, thebook explains how to foster and cultivate the life of the soil through the use of compost, mulches, and compost teas.By eschewing jargon, the authors make the text accessible to a wide audience, from devotees of organic gardening techniques to weekend gardeners who simply want to grow healthy, vigorous plants without resorting to chemicals.

The forward in the book is by Dr. Elaine Ingham who studies and has a web site here:


Elaine it seems updates a 'The Compost Tea Brewing Manual' and has trial networks in many parts of the world.

Dr. Elaine Ingham is an energetic, easy-to-understand speaker who explains what life in the soil is all about. Behind this "user-friendly" approach lies a wealth of knowledge gained from years of intensive research into the organisms which make up the soil food web. Elaine not only understands the soil food web, she has knowledge on how to ensure a healthy food web to promote plant growth and reduce reliance on inorganic chemicals.


Her research is on: What organisms are present in the soil and on the foliage of your plants, which organisms benefit which types of plants, which organisms harm plants, how can these organisms be managed to grow plants with the least expensive inputs into the system while maintaining soil fertility.

Might be of interest to you or others.


Jedi Master
This sounds like such a fun job!

A few terms I've been reading and hearing about is "sustainable agriculture", which incorporate organic agriculture, permaculture, agro-ecology, holistic farming practices.
The Leopold Institute is a great place to get some more details:
NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Project has many too:

Permaculture (also polyculture, aquaponics) is a type of sustainable agriculture that I've been hearing more about... it's quite fascinating and has very old roots.

Permaculture is sustainable land use design. This is based on ecological and biological principles, often using patterns that occur in nature to maximise effect while minimizing wasted energy. Permaculture aims to create stable, productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with its inhabitants. The ecological processes of plants, animals, their nutrient cycles, climatic factors and weather cycles are all part of the picture. Inhabitants’ needs are provided for using proven technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure. Elements in a system are viewed in relationship to other elements, where the outputs of one element become the inputs of another. Within a Permaculture system, work is minimized, "wastes" become resources, productivity and yields increase, and environments are restored. Permaculture principles can be applied to any environment, at any scale from dense urban settlements to individual homes, from farms to entire regions.

I've seen stories of these small farms where space is limited. Chickens roost above a fish pond, whose droppings,etc, feed the fish in part and the water from the fish tank is used to water/fertilize a garden that grows vegetables and chicken feed. That's soooo cool! Nothing goes to waste, and chemicals are kept to a minimum, and land is conserved.... making it sustainable.

There's more key words and links on that WIKI page if you'd like more details.


Some key words for sustainable husbandry are:

Pastured; but this is becoming obsolete due to the public associating it with pasteurized

Grass-Fed; is taking the place of pastured

Also look up "Chicken Tractor" :huh: it's not what comes to mind at first :P

Stay away from "free range",

Organic eggs are produced by hens allowed access to pasture on a daily basis. This discussion is about Raising Chickens in the form of true family farming on a small scale, not what the deceptive term "free range chicken eggs" means to the commercial factory poultry farm.

The USDA allows that "certified organic" and "free range chickens" chicken eggs can be labeled as such as long as there is an access door. It does not have to access any pasture, with bugs and grass, dirt only is allowed.

The reality is that these chickens can and are being raised in a overstuffed huge poultry house with many hundreds of chickens in tiers of coops stacked 3 or more high. All the operation has to do is put a small access door to the outside.

It does not matter if the chickens cannot actually access it unless they are in the very front, and even then they will not get a blade of grass when they make it out. Label or not, they are not free range, happy chickens in any sense of the term.

The chickens are still fed the animal by product grain as before the legislation. So the point of the consumer paying higher prices for better fed and cared for chickens and eggs has been a failure.

_ Look through this site. You can find farms in your area that practice the sustainable husbandry. Many of these farms will have a website and plenty have a blog, that tells about how they do things. Most will welcome a visit to the farm to see how things are done. (by appointment of coarse) Also there are some "farm forums" that discuss these things, I'll try to get a few more links and post later...
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