Organic farming and food is in the spotlight this September thanks to a campaign from the Soil Association. Read on to discover why it’s so important – plus 10 easy swaps you can make to up your organic game.
What is Organic September?
Run by the Soil Association, the UK’s leading food and farming charity and organic certification body, Organic September is a month-long initiative designed to raise awareness about organic farming. It has been running since 1994, and used to be known as Organic Harvest, changing its name in 2012.
Since the campaign began, the importance of changing our food systems has grown as climate change has become increasingly pressing. The Soil Association aims to highlight the benefits organic food and products can have on the planet, such as supporting biodiversity and wildlife, as well as the positives for our bodies, like reduced exposure to pesticides. You can find out more about the benefits of going organic here.
Below, we highlight some ways to get involved by swapping everyday items for organic alternatives.
10 Swaps To Make For Organic September
Organic wine has been on the rise in recent years, and there are now plenty of great winemakers to choose from. For a wine to be certified organic, it means the grapes used to create them have been grown without chemicals – using compost rather than fertiliser, and not spraying vines with fungicides or herbicides. Not only is it better for the environment, some claim it softens the hangover, so it’s a win-win situation. Swap the supermarket for Vintage Roots, an organic wine merchant with hundreds of bottles on its books.
Organic meat is a legally defined standard, operating to the very highest levels of animal welfare. When you’re buying meat, look out for the Soil Association organic accreditation mark – or visit the Soil Association website to find organic producers in your local area. There are lots out there, including Somerset-based online butcher Coombe Farm, which has been certified organic for almost 20 years.
Nothing beats the simple bliss of biting into a bar of chocolate – but, like everything we consume, it’s important to consider where it comes from. Thankfully, an increasing number of brands are doing things the right way, like Montezuma’s, who produces certified organic chocolate without palm oil, with recyclable, biodegradable or compostable packaging.
An easy way to get more organic products into your basket is by changing up your shopping habits. A number of stores sell solely organic items, like Planet Organic, the UK’s first fully certified organic supermarket, which dates back to 1995. You can buy not just food, but skincare and beauty products, household items and more.
While ‘organic’ is a legally protected term for food, it’s not when it comes to skincare products. This means brands can label themselves as organic even if they only contain a small amount of an organic ingredient. There are certifications you can look for, though, such as the Soil Association logo, which means companies have met a strict criteria, including a high percentage of organic ingredients. One to look out for is the Rhug Estate, an organic farm which has its own skincare brand, Wild Beauty.
Egg labelling can be confusing, with lots of different terms to navigate. If a pack of eggs is labelled organic, it means the chickens are kept in smaller flocks, with continuous and easy daytime access to an outdoor range, plus there is no routine use of antibiotics. You can rest assured Abel & Cole is doing things right, with organic eggs coming from Stonegate: pioneers in one of the country’s first egg-producing cooperatives whose farms adhere to strict organic welfare standards.
You’d be forgiven for thinking floristry is an innately eco-friendly industry – yet there are in fact a number of ways your bouquet may have harmed the environment. Flowers are often flown in from far-flung destinations and put in non-biodegradable plastic floral foam, notorious for its damaging effects. Not Organic Blooms, though, a flower farm near Bristol which received Soil Association organic certification in 2017, making it one of the UK’s only organic flower growers.
Fruit and vegetables
Fresh, seasonal and fuss-free, fruit and vegetable delivery boxes encourage you to try new things – all while supporting small businesses. Even better if they’re organic, like Riverford, who offers a range of boxes packed to the brim with goodness, delivered fresh from the farm.
You can make simple swaps when going out for dinner, too. Next time you fancy a meal out, why not head to Britain’s first organic pub, The Duke of Cambridge, which has been certified by The Soil Association since 1998. It serves fresh, seasonal dishes sourced from local organic farmers and growers, with the menu currently including Rhug Estate lamb with baba ganoush, Montezuma chocolate brownie and creel caught langoustines with aioli.
Bar soap has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, with many products no longer comprised of drying alcohols and synthetic scents. Plus, it’s a great way to cut your plastic use in the bathroom. You can make this swap habit even more sustainable by choosing a certified organic brand, such as Neal’s Yard Remedies, which sells a range of bar soaps scented with organic oils.