What is Organic September and how can you get involved?
Have a look in your fridge. Is any of the food organic? If not, now could be the perfect time to re-think your grocery shopping.
Every year September is the designated month when we are asked to consider organic farming and food. This campaign from the Soil Association aims to raise awareness and educate people about the positive benefits of supporting organic farming and switching to organic products.
Find out how you can get involved in Organic September and make a difference to the planet in this handy guide.
What is organic farming?
Organic farming is a system that ensures farmers can sustain the health of the soil, ecosystems, the animals and the people involved in the production and consumption of farmed goods.
For example, organic farmers will cut out harmful pesticides that are designed to kill bugs, weeds and fungi. Instead they’ll use natural methods like encouraging birds, beetles and other insects to eat pests like aphids and slugs.
Keeping the soil and wildlife healthy is a key part of organic farming so any processes that can be harmful, such as synthetic fertilisers, are swapped for environmentally friendly alternatives.
Farming organically and increasing demand for organic produce has a positive impact on many ecosystems. Not only are there health benefits to eating organic foods, but it’s much better for the planet and wildlife too.
In fact, research from the Soil Association found that if all farmland in Europe followed organic practices, emissions from agriculture would drop 40-50% by 2050.
Start shopping organic
Organic products are a direct result of organic farming, so when you buy organic produce it means there has been far less environmental damage caused in its production.
Next time you’re in the supermarket, look out for organic logos on food labels to make sure the food you buy is certified and meets a high standard.
Organic food is often more expensive and not everyone can afford to switch their entire shop to organic items. However, there are ways you can shop organic on a budget. Many supermarkets will have their own brand of organic alternatives and these can often be cheaper than branded items.
Begin by introducing small changes. Start by switching your essential items to organic, such as milk, eggs, cheese, vegetables, or any other staples in your diet.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker or you can’t start your day without a morning cuppa, switch to organically produced milk. If cheese is your vice and you can’t make a meal without a handful of cheddar grated on top, look out for a cheese with an organic food label.
If you really want to go the extra mile to shop organically, start supporting independent businesses by finding the local organic retailers in your area. Not only will you be doing your bit to help organic farmers and food producers, you’ll be supporting small businesses too.
Grow your own organic garden
As well as buying sustainable, organic products, you could even take steps to ensure your own garden is organic. Opt for peat-free soil and keep it healthy with soil-saving plants such as clover.
If you’re a bit of a green-thumb and you enjoy watching your garden grow, you could even try growing your own herbs or vegetable garden.
Encouraging wildlife into your garden could also help Britain’s decline in biodiversity. Spruce up your garden, balcony, or window box with some poppies, foxglove, evergreen clematis, lemon thyme or basil - bees love these!
Other ways you can ensure you are making conscious decisions and buying sustainably
Buying organic produce is just one way you can shop better and make sustainable choices, but there are lots of simple swaps you can make to help you buy green.
When it comes to buying beauty and wellbeing products, look out for the Soil Association label on packaging. The organic certificate means the products haven’t been tested on animals and don’t use any harmful chemicals.
You can also shop consciously when choosing a new outfit. Fast fashion and unsustainable methods of production in the clothing industry are damaging to the environment. In fact, a study from Quantis predicted that the apparel industry’s global emissions output will increase by 49% by 2030 if nothing changes.
However, you can still look stylish without shopping from fast fashion stores. Buy from retailers with a commitment to the environment who make clothes from sustainable materials. But, most importantly, buy to last. Disregarded clothes can end up in landfill, so buy good quality items that you can re-wear, and if you are ready for a change, sell them on.
There are organic or sustainable alternatives for many products we purchase in our everyday lives. You can buy eco-friendly cleaning products, such as the Ocean Saver pouches that come with reusable plastic bottles, to avoid purchasing damaging single-use plastics.
If you have a furry friend, you can also buy organic dog and cat food to keep your pets eating green too. And, our stylish pet beds are made from recycled ocean plastics and other polluting materials.
There are sustainable options out there, you just need to know where to look!