Organic September is a month-long campaign, run by the Soil Association. It’s goal is to encourage more people to try organic food. Read more about Organic September here.
Organic food, defined by Defra is “the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides; growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited by organic legislation.
Organic agriculture is a systems approach to production that is working towards environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production. Instead, the agricultural systems rely on crop rotation, animal and plant manures, some hand weeding and biological pest control”.
Spending on organic food is on the rise, even though scientists have not been wholly convinced about the health claims of eating organic foods. [source] However, there is plenty of evidence that there are more vitamins, minerals and omega-3s in organic produce as well as lower levels of pesticide residues and heavy metals.
In addition, all organic food is fully traceable from farm to fork, so you can be sure of what you’re eating. [source]
If you want to increase the amount of organic foods you eat, here are six ways to get started:
Vegetable box scheme
Sign up for an organic vegetable box scheme. It’s a great way to try ‘in season’ foods and to expand the range of foods you eat. It’s also easy as the box gets delivered to your door!
Browse your local supermarket for organic ranges. Even ‘budget’ supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi have a small range of things like pasta, carrots, onions, baby food and maple syrup.
What do you eat most of?
If you’re on a budget, then think about the foods you consume a lot of – and switch those to organic. So if you begin your morning with a cup of coffee for example, then consider switching to organic milk and coffee. If you snack on an apple every day, then buy organic apples.
Grow your own
Grow some of your own food. You don’t need a huge garden or allotment to do this. You can grow strawberries or tumbling tomatoes in a hanging basket, lettuce leaves in a windowbox or keep some sprouted seeds on your kitchen windowsill.
Buy in bulk
Dried beans, rice and grains can be bought in bulk from a food co-op such as Suma. Club together with friends and share the expense.
Avoid the Dirty Dozen
If you’re unsure where you start, then take a look at these brilliant lists. Every year, since 2004, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been releasing an updated “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen”. The Dirty Dozen refers to 12 “dirty” crops that farmers use the most pesticides on. And as you might imagine, the Clean Fifteen refers to fifteen crops that use the least amount of pesticides. These guidelines are based on analysis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program report, which is published annually. The idea is, that if you switch to just one organic food, pick something from the dirty dozen list, as this will have the most impact.