Food, glorious food. If there is one thing that bonds us all, it is our collective love of food. Eating out with friends, eating at home with family or ordering something in – food’s capacity to bring people together is clear. But do we actually know how our food is produced? Do we know much about how it is grown, where it is grown, and what is used in production? We may be forgiven for not caring that much. However, it may be wise for us to open our eyes to the benefits of eating more organic foods. From a health and environmental perspective, we could be having a massive impact – simply by becoming more aware of what we shop for in the supermarkets.
This month has seen the emergence of the Organic September campaign in the UK by the Soil Association, designed to raise awareness of and bring attention to organic products. Food which falls under this umbrella has to adhere to strict farming and production guidelines, ensuring they meet European laws. No, this campaign isn’t a ploy to ensure shoppers spend more in the supermarkets! It is a genuine look into the differences between commercial farming and organic farming, along with a number of events, resources and material to heighten awareness. What’s more, is that this awareness can lead to healthier and more informed choices.
Making the switch?
There are a number of reasons why making the switch to organic food makes sense. The continued usage of chemical pesticides – used to kill any foreign organism that may destroy crops – in commercial farming is a hot topic. There is certainly a case to avoid food grown in these conditions. Practically speaking, there are some benefits to utilising pesticides to get rid of unwanted insects and weeds. However, traces of these pesticides are left on our food once they hit supermarket shelves. There is considerable evidence that the use of these chemicals can be detrimental to human health, and this is something that consumers should all be aware of.
Reap the benefits
Although organic farming does utilise pesticides, they are derived from natural ingredients. What’s more, they offer a lower level of toxicity compared to those in commercial farming. So how do we benefit? Well, we obviously lower our exposure to chemicals, and as a result minimise our chances of disease. What about the soil? Synthetic pesticides are not a friend of soil; they cause damage and leave our fruits and vegetables depleted of crucial trace minerals. Organic farming allows for a more ‘natural’ method of food production. Soil remains intact, and we are able to once again reap the benefits of exposure to beneficial nutrients.
Organic September is making an ‘organic’ attempt (excuse the pun) to bring awareness to the benefits of organic farming. Multiple resources are available, ranging from recipes, competitions, products and produce. But most importantly, we discover how beneficial organic products are, and the impact on our health and the environment. Food-wise, a handy place to start would be the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists. These give you an idea of produce that you should always look to buy organic, and that which you can get away with buying regularly – based on pesticide residue. Give it a go, and unlock all the benefits of organic food – above all for yourself, and for our environment.