Did you know that organic farms have around 50% more bees, butterflies and other pollinators? No? Don't worry, we didn't either until recently. But along came #OrganicSeptember, a month-long campaign by the Soil Association to raise awareness of the many benefits of organic food and farming.
We're always on a mission to be part of the movement for a more sustainable future, so we'd love to tell you more about organic farming and what's so great about it.
What does ‘organic’ mean?
Organic is a way of farming that avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Irradiation (the process of exposing food and its packaging to ionising radiation) and the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products produced from or by GMOs are generally prohibited too.
Organic farmers work to a strict set of standards, which must comply with strict EU regulations to ensure that their farms sustain the health of soils, ecosystems, and people. In fact, certification is legally required to grow, process or market organic products, and all organic farms and companies are inspected by a certification body, at least once a year.
These standards mean that when you see the organic symbol, you can trust that the food and drink you buy has been made in a way that is better for people, animals and wildlife, and respects the natural environment.
Why is organic better for the planet?
Organic farming is design to respect nature and to enhance the health of soils, water and air. Organic farmers restrict the use of manufactured chemical fertilisers - which come from burning fossil fuels – instead, building fertile soils naturally by using compost and manure (often sourced from their own farm or herds) and rotate their crops to keep soils healthy.
Healthy soil is a really important tool in the fight against the climate crisis - there are 2,500 billion tonnes of carbon stored in the world’s soils! That’s more than in the plants, trees and the atmosphere combined. As a matter of fact, if half of all farming in the EU moved to organic by 2020, we could cut almost a quarter of all the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions simply by increased soil carbon sequestration and reduced use of mineral fertilisers.
Why is organic better for wildlife?
Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies. On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms, and there are around 75% more wild bees on organic farms.
This is because instead of depending on pesticides, organic farmers rely on healthy eco-systems to control pests and protect their soils, where animals like beetles and birds feed on pests such as aphids and slugs. They tend to farm in a way that encourages wildlife, like planting trees, ‘beetle banks’ and wildlife margins, and digging pongs around their fields, meaning their farms are more ecologically diverse.
How does organic ensure higher welfare for animals?
Organic farming has the highest animal welfare standards of any international farming system. This means truly free-range animals, encourages to forage, graze and roam, with plenty of space, fresh air and conditions that allow them t express their natural behaviours.
Smaller flocks and herds, and more access to the outdoors means organic animals don’t have to be routinely treated with antibiotics and wormers, and mutilations like beak-tipping to prevent the aggressive side effects of stress are also not needed or allowed.
Now you know exactly why choosing organic is a more sustainable choice, why not check out our Organics Collection, with all our favourite organic products including organic self-care, organic homeware and organic food!
Got any other questions about why you should choose organic? We’d love to help! Leave us a question in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you soon.