History of Organic Farming

To know the history of organic farming, let’s first understand what is organic farming:-

 It is just not growing home-made vegetables and fruits all from the waste generated from our daily routine.

Farmers from all over the world used to produce food using natural methods. Activities such as sowing seeds, watering the plant, insect control, crop cutting etc. We saw a slow increase in Organic Farming in 1920.

Then began the history of Organic farming in the whole world.

Cave carving made by humans
Cave carving made by humans

Organic farming was evolving during the Second World War with new research that shows, how we can grow fresh and healthy vegetables.

When did organic farming start in the rest of the World?

Albert Howard 1873-1947:

  • A botanist by work (President Indian National Congress 1926). Supported traditional agricultural practices.
  • His theme was healthy soil, healthy people, livestock and crops.
  • Documented Organic training techniques.
  • The slow death of the soil by chemical fertilisers.
  • Book: Agricultural Testament.

Rudolf Steiner 1924 (German):

  • Balancing the interaction of animals- plants-Soils (Ecology) management. Built farming in Germany.

Lord Northbourne :

  • The term organic farming was first coined by him.
  • Book Look to the land 1939.

Lady Eve Belfour UK:

  • Properly experimented on organic and conventional farming from 1939-1943. Book- LIVING SOIL 1944.
  • Emphasised on spiritual and ethical values.

Manobu Fukuoka (Japan) microbiologist:

  • Developed a model “No-Till” organic farming and practised and preached from 1940 for thirty years. (Now known as Fukuoka farming).
  • Fukuoka learned how plants can grow naturally and vigorously with little or no human effort.
  • For over fifty years he achieved surplus yields of rice, barley, plums, citrus fruits and vegetables by means of natural farming.
  • Fukuoka’s methods have also been used to green the deserts.
  • Books: One straw revolution, Road back to nature and natural way of farming.

J.I Rodale USA 1950:

  • Popularised the term sustainable agriculture and the method of organic farming in USA and published several scientific reports.
  • Rodale Research Institute NY.

1972 International federation of organic Agriculture (IFOA) movement in France. Co-ordinates all efforts in organic farming World Wide.

Evolution of farm equipment's
Evolution of farm equipment’s

Indian History of Organic farming:

How Indians came to know about Organic farming?

The script of Ramayana describes that all dead things –

“rotting corpse or stinking garbage returned to earth

are transformed into wholesome things that nourish life. ”

 The history of organic farming was started 1,000 years back when ancient farmers started cultivation near the river belt and depending on nature only. They used to worship Sun, Moon, Water, Soil and Fire. Organic farming in Vedas has great significance for human lives.

Organic Farming mentioned in Vedas


  • There is a brief mention of several methods of Organic Farming in Indian ancient literature like Rig-Veda.
  • In fact, organic agriculture has its roots in traditional farming practices that evolved in countless villages and farming communities over the millennium.
  • Rig-Veda (2500-1500 BC) mention of organic manure in Rig-Veda 1, 161, 10.


Atharva Veda:

  • Similarly, Green manure in Atharva Veda ll (1000 BC) 8.3, in Sukra (4, 5, 94, 107-112). It is stated that to cause healthy growth of the plant should be nourished by dung of Goat, sheep, cow, water as well as meat.



  • A reference of manure is also made in Vrksayurveda by Surpala (manuscript, oxford, No 324B, Six, 107-164).



  • The Mahabharata (5500 BC) mentions of Kamadhenu, the celestial cow and its role on human life and soil fertilizer.


Kauitilya Arthashastra:

  • Kauitilya Arthashastra (300BC) mentioned manure like oil cake, excreta of animals.


The organic farming practice is known for ages. The ancient Indian manuscripts also describe the importance of the dead and decaying matter in the nourishment of life and soil fertility, respectively.

Importance of organic manure and recycling post-harvest residues has also been dealt in various sections of these kinds of literature. It has recognized worldwide for personal health, safe environment, food security and fights against global warming.

Ideological, philosophical and religious beliefs have also triggered the use of organic farming with a commercial outlook taking care of the environment and quality product.


Medieval History (1950–1990)

  • During the early 1960s expansion in research and practice of organic agriculture spreader worldwide. In particular, the expansion and dual polarity of organic agriculture started with the oil crisis of 1973 and the growing sensitivity to environmental issues.
  • New ideas, significant sociological transformations, protest movements and the proliferation of alternative lifestyles started to evolve. The new thoughts in terms of using natural resources rationally, protecting the environment, realizing low input and high efficiency.
  • Along with that ensuring food security, returning to the earth and maintaining sustainable development of agriculture, such as organic, organic-biological.

When did the trade Organization establish?

  • A new era of organic farming started worldwide in the 1990s. The trade organizations for organic products were founded. Organic farming regulations were implemented and organic farming movement was promoted by a firstly governmental and secondly non-governmental organization.
  • In 1990, the first BioFach Fair – now the biggest fair for the organic product worldwide, emerged in Germany (ITC 1999).

What is the status of organic farming in India today?

  • India is home to 30 per cent of the total organic producers in the world. Accounts for just 2.59 per cent (1.78 million hectares) of the total organic cultivation area of 57.8 million hectares, according to the World of Organic Agriculture 2018 report.
  • In January 2016, Sikkim became India’s first “100 per cent organic” state.
  • National Standards for Organic Products (NSOP) have standardized during May 2001 and all the products sold under the logo “India Organic.
  • National Institute of Organic Farming (NIOF) established at Ghaziabad in 2003 (niof Ghaziabad). niof Ghaziabad is handled by The Indian Government for the welfare of the Indian farmers. The purpose of this institute is to formulate rules, regulations and certification of organic farm products in conformity with international standards


  • Hence organic farming is not a new way of growing crop but an old traditional way of farming home-made food. Organic farming focus on agricultural sustainability, and its relationship to various alternative agricultural approaches.
  • Organic farming in Vedas is explained well in the above post.
  • It has got some changes in the methods, but the changes are a quite deliberately easy and convenient way of growing. It does not offer any new definitions of organic farming.