Date Published: 01-09-2021
This month marks the start of Organic September, a month-long campaign founded and run by The Soil Association, the UK's leading food and farming charity and organic certification body. With an aim to raise awareness of the benefits of organic food and farming, Organic September has come a long way since its debut back in 1994. Originally known as Organic Harvest, the event began as a celebration of the best of naturally grown foods. By the mid-2000s, the campaign grew into Organic Fortnight, and featured events across Britain to help showcase tasty organic food and drink. Rebranded as Organic September in 2012, the month-long event is now the UK’s biggest campaign dedicated to growing the organic market.
In the face of climate change, diet related ill-health and widespread decline in wildlife, the need to change our food systems has never been greater. Whether it's tea bags or a cleaning product, small changes can make big differences, and one way to be overall more conscious of the planet is to opt for organic.
You can get involved by being part of the conversation using the #OrganicSeptember hashtag, supporting organic farmers in your local community or even attempting to grow your own organic produce at home. Organic means ensuring the growth of food and crops sustains soils, ecosystems and people. According to The Soil Association, for a food or drink product to be labelled as organic, at least 95 per cent of the ingredients must come from organically produced plants or animals. This label can also be found on skincare, make-up and cleaning products too.
There’s no shortage of places to shop organic and Essential stock a fantastically diverse range. Organic September is the perfect time to make a commitment to trying to implement a more organic lifestyle and try new products. Reconnecting with nature can help the world recover from Covid, so even sharing facts about organic farming, or eating out in organic restaurants will help. UK sales of organic food rose by 18.7 per cent over lockdown, as 42 per cent of shoppers say the pandemic has taught them to value food more, according to a YouGov survey.
Louisa Pharoah of the Soil Association, comments,
“The Covid-19 pandemic has meant more people appreciate where food comes from, and with the increased interest in growing veg in our gardens and home baking, there’s never been a better time to talk to people about the benefits of organic farming.”
How to get involved with Organic September:
Opt for organic. Making a switch to organic next time you shop is the most direct form of action you can take.
Share your knowledge about organic. Already a self-confessed organic expert? Spread the word about food as it should be this September by talking to friends and family about organic.
Find joy in nature. Organic is all about working with nature, so reconnecting to the natural world is a great first step.
Make a switch to organic beauty. Look for the Soil Association symbol to be sure that what you’re buying is not tested on animals, and is free from harmful chemicals, parabens and phthalates, synthetic dyes or fragrances.
Start thinking of yourself differently. We are all food citizens, with the power to change the food systems we are a part of.
Support your local indie selling organic food to support local businesses in your neighbourhood.
Choose organic when you eat out, too, by finding a restaurant with the Organic Served Here award.
Put some organic myths to bed and come equipped to your next dinner-table debate with a head full of facts.
Turn your garden organic by choosing peat-free compost and pollinator-friendly plants. Organic farms are havens for wildlife.
Organic food: the facts
- Organic food must be certified by law
- The organic logo can only be used on products that have been certified as organic by an authorised certification body
- In organic farming, all weed killers are banned - a very limited number of naturally occurring fungicides and insecticides are permitted and their use is severely restricted
- Choosing organic is an easy way to limit your exposure to pesticides and herbicides
- Organic animals must have access to pasture (when weather and ground conditions permit) and are truly free-range, must not routinely be given antibiotics, and be fed a completely GM-free diet.
- On average, organic vegetable farms, dairy farms, and mixed farming systems use less energy than their non-organic counterparts.
- No synthetic nitrogen fertiliser can be used on organic farms. Nitrogen is a major contributor to emissions from agriculture and damages soil organic matter.
- Organic soils store up to twice as much water – this makes them more resilient in a changing climate
- On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50 per cent more abundant on organic farms.
- Organic farming is better for bees, there are around 75 per cent more wild bees on organic farms