While some people were shopping and farming organically before some avo-loving millenials were even born, the adoption of a more organic lifestyle has picked up the pace again over the last decade as we become more aware of the impact of monoculture, industrial farming on us and the planet.
Independent shops saw their sales of organic food and drink rise by nearly 10% in 2017 and Organic September is now a firm fixture in the foodie calendar.
But do you know why everyone is banging on about going organic?
It’s never been easier to embrace that’s for sure.
Let us know your favourite organic brands in the comments below!
10 Reasons To Make September The Month You Go Organic
1. Keep it simple
In the face of growing evidence that the levels of toxins in pesticides and herbicides do have a negative effect on our health, organic food is simply as it should be.
The EU law on pre-packaged foods says that if 95% of the ingredients in a packet are produced organically then you can label it organic.
That means no chemical fertilisers, no antibiotics and no GM; animals fed organic food and an emphasis on their welfare.
2. It’s certified
While ‘organic’ might mean something in different countries, ‘organic’ in the UK is a standard certification in the food and drinks industries.
Look for the Soil Association‘s Organic logo on brands you can trust to uphold the most sustainable and ethical credentials. It is the UK’s leading organic certification body.
Its principles are based on internationally recognised standards in organic agriculture which cover the land, the people working on it, the future of the local environment and the health of the food, the animals and the soil.
3. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing
We’re not suggesting that you swap a budget shop at Lidl for swanning round expensive delis in the Home Counties spending a small fortune on chutneys, but in Tesco parlance, every little helps.
Swapping one or two everyday items is an easy way to start shopping more organic – and see if you can tell the difference.
“Swapping everyday items like carrots, chicken or yogurt for organic alternatives can all make surprisingly large differences. If everyone makes a small change we can make a huge difference to our world.
Choosing organic means helping protect our vital wildlife and reducing your exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals.
You’ll also be helping to support the farming families who work hard to grow our food with care for the generations to come,” says Niamh Noone at the Soil Association.
4. Trace your food
The journey of food is a source of fascination for many and a worry for others.
If you want to really know how your bacon was farmed, your flour was grown and so on, then incoming technology like Blockchain is making this easier and easier.
Provenance has a free app for Android (iOS is coming) that allows you to scan the barcode of your organic product and see its entire production process – from cow to (non plastic) carrier bag or field to your fork.
5. Buy less, buy better
While organic meat can be more pricey, it taps into a different buying mindset.
30% people in the UK are actively reducing their meat intake and upping the plants.
If that’s you, would you spend more on better quality meat and eat it less often? You’d be helping the planet twice over.
We shouldn’t be looking to eradicate animal farming all together (our soil needs free grazing animals to support biodiversity) but buying less and buying better is a great way to shop and keep your budgets intact.
6. It’s time to think about farming
Taking pictures of pretty seasonal ingredients isn’t the way to show you really care about food.
Educating yourself about the state of farming in your country is a much better way to get involved.
In 2016, over 16,600 tonnes of pesticides were used on British farms to kill weeds, insects and control crop diseases; non organic farmers can routinely use 320 different pesticides on crops.
These chemicals leach into our soil and waterways and have long-lasting effects on everything they come into contact with.
Organic farms have 75% more plant species and become havens for wildlife and biodiversity, organic farmers are restricted to 15 in certain cases and they are derived of natural ingredients.
They rely on instead holistic crop rotation, encouraging natural predators and long term soil health.
7. Care about animals?
Industrial level farming is at the heart of why so many are plumping for vegan options, but not all farming is the same.
“Organic means higher levels of animal welfare, lower levels of pesticides, no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers and more environmentally sustainable management of our countryside – this means more wildlife!
Organic fruit, veg, meat and milk are also nutritionally different – showing the way we farm really does affect the quality of our food,” says Noone.
8. Shop local
In the face of the unknowns over Brexit and lockdowns, reconnecting with your local stores, farm shops, community gardens and so on, isn’t the worst idea in the world.
Supporting your local economy means your money’s going back to actual people (who, trust us, probably do a little dance every time they get a new customer), rather than global brands with complex supply chains.
Plus, smaller independent stores don’t rely so heavily on plastic packaging meaning you can reduce your single use plastic consumption as well.
9. Drink up
Organic doesn’t just cover food you know.
Organic wine and beer is also a booming market and there are some excellent organic wine suppliers in the UK who specialise in wines that have come from low impact vineyards, use minimum sulphates or nitrates and support chemical free farming.
“Organic and biodynamic wines are more concerned with the farming than with the cellar but both define the parameters of grape-growing.
Organic is primarily concerned with finding solutions to problems that eschew the use of synthetic chemical products or pesticides.
Biodynamics goes a step further as it is a holistic approach.
It aims to build the resilience of the plant and its environment so that the problems don’t arise in the first place,” says Isabelle Legeron, Master of Wine, and author of Natural Wine: an introduction to organic & biodynamic wines made naturally.
10. Vote for your future
Every time you buy organic food or drink you’re voting for a more sustainable, resilient future that doesn’t depend on monocrops, global industralised food systems that aren’t fit for purpose.
You’re voting for circular food systems that are inspired by nature, do no damage and help restore soil quality and biodiversity.
If you want wildlife, people who care about nutritional and quality food and farms that you’d want to tour, then buying as much organic food as you can afford is the way to push for it.