They aren’t necessarily. Conventional vegetable production often relies on large quantities of chemical herbicides and pesticides to control weed and pest populations. While these chemicals may reduce these unwanted populations, they also effectively kill the soil. Healthy soil has an array of biological activity going on in it and all these processes are important for the long term productivity of the land. If farmers don’t take care of the soil, the soil will quickly become degraded and its productivity will decline. “certified organic” produce only guarantees that certain synthetic chemical pesticides and herbicides are not used. It doesn’t guarantee that the soil is well cared for. The philosophy behind the “organic” movement certainly embraces soil health, cover cropping, crop rotation, adding compost/manure to maintain soil fertility, but these practices are not required in order to be certified as an organic grower. So, in theory, you can have certified organic vegetables that were grown using methods that are similarly destructive to the soil as conventional methods.
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