This month as you know already is Organic September month, and we believe it is important to support the Soil Association’s campaign. The aim is to encourage you to eat, drink and use organic
1.Better for the environment: Organic farming is an alternative to the conventional, or some would say, chemical farming. This method partners with nature instead of altering or simply controlling natural processes. By avoiding the use of toxic chemicals which remain in the soil and often leach into groundwater, it avoids the potential outcome of toxic non-organic crops. Organic farming by Grower’s Organic (2016) is better for the environment as it :
Improves soil quality
Minimises the health and occupation hazards to farm workers
Uses recycled products from other industries that would otherwise go to waste
Conserves and keeps up water quality
Encourages biodiversity and helps to maintain a restorative and sustainable bio-system.
As the Soil Association (2016) points out: if Organic Farming took over UK’s farming, at least 3.2 million tonnes of carbon would be taken up by the soil each year. This is equivalent of taking nearly a million cars off our roads.
- 2.Better taste: This is a matter of preference of course, but most Organic food consumers will suggest that they is a key difference in taste. Hence favouring Organic produce
- 3.Better for animal welfare :An important fact to take note of is that the Soil Association guarantees the highest levels of animal welfare standards. The organic standards looked into are: the routine use of antibiotics and hormones, transport, slaughter, free range animals and lastly food quality. To put it simply, we have listed a few key points from the Ethical Consumer Organisation (2012) website about Organic Farming:
- “To have access to fields (when weather and ground conditions permit)
- have plenty of space (indoors and outdoors)
- be fed on a diet as natural as possible and free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- not be routinely given antibiotics to treat illness
- not be given hormones to encourage growth or productivity.
- When looking at dairy cows in particular, there are several specific standards of note:
- -dairy cows must spend the majority of their lives outdoors and when they are brought indoors during bad weather they must have appropriate bedding and space
- -they must be fed a minimum of 60 per cent forage at all times and whatever the balance of forage or concentrate (soya or corn) it must be 100 per cent organic.”
- 4.Better for health: One of the key points you may ask yourself: Does organic do us more good -since it is said that in the form of better nutrition, and do they do us less harm?-in terms of fewer contaminants and pathogens. Well the nutrition and contamination levels will vary depending on its food category: milk, produce, meat, eggs and fish as we have seen so far. Recent research suggests that antioxidant concentrations were between 18-69% higher in organically grown crops. Since a vast amount of studies have linked antioxidants to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including some cancers, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, eating Organic may be better for us. Another finding was the lower concentration of a wide range of toxic heavy metals including Cadmium, were found in organic crops (on average 48 % lower) (Baranski, M et al. 2014).
- 5.Better for our wildlife: Since Organic Farms use fewer pesticides, they provide more homes for bees and butterflies creating up to 50 % more wildlife. You must remember that 75% of our wildlife is in decline in the UK.(Soil Association, 2016)
We know that Organic produce does not appeal to everyone solely because of the cost. Yes it is more expensive but there are several reasons as to why. A few of these are listed on the UK Government’s Guidance about Organic Farming (2016) and on the FAO (2016).
Now that you have our top 5 reasons as to why we encourage Organic choices this September, you can make an informed decision. The same applies to supplements and superfoods. Choose Certified Organic wherever you can and look into the processes the companies go through.
Baranski, M et al. (2014) .Higher antioxidant concentrations and less cadmium and pesticide residues in organically-grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses.” British Journal of Nutrition.
Ethical Consumer Organisation: Ethical Reports (2012). http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/dairy-industry-sector-report/milkandanimalwelfare.aspx [Accessed on 1.09.2016]
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, FAO (2016): FAQ: http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-faq/oa-faq5/en/ [Accessed on 1.09.2016]
Grower’s Organic (2016) : http://www.growersorganic.com/organic/environment/ [Accessed on 1.09.2016]
Soil Association: https://www.soilassociation.org/[Accessed on 1.09.2016]
UK Government Guidance (2016): Organic Farming: how to get certification and apply for fundinghttps://www.gov.uk/guidance/organic-farming-how-to-get-certification-and-apply-for-funding [Accessed on 1.09.2016]
University of Newcastle (2015): Organic v/s non organic food. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2015/10/organicvsnon-organicfood/ [Accessed on 1.09.2016]