Biological or organic?

Environmentally-aware agriculture is organic in English, not biological.

To me with my background in chemistry , all foods are always both biological and organic, of course! No matter what methods were used. But in the less scientific everyday usage for livestock farming and growing crops without artifical fertilizers and so forth, English uses “organic” where Dutch uses “biologisch“.

  • biological is the term with a scientific slant, referring to a basis on living things
  • organic in a chemical sense means involving the biochemistry of carbon compounds…
  • …and farming methods based on natural products are also organic

The Dutch are doing their best to shed the image of intensive agriculture and animal husbandry with harsh conditions. They want to make their food greener, so this is quite a buzzword.

Prevalence: medium. A hot topic so it can pop up in a wide range of texts, from menus to marketing, from social studies to hard science.
Frequency: medium. People writing papers and articles about farming matters tend to be aware of this one, but the ‘man in the street’ doesn’t.
Native: no. Or only by contamination via those who also speak other languages.

Published by Mike Wilkinson

Twenty years of translating and editing Dutch into English, as well as writing and publishing in English.

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