Reconnecting with nature, sharing facts about organic farming, or eating out in organic restaurants are all ways food citizens can get involved with this year’s Organic September campaign.
The month-long celebration of organic food, textiles and other products will kick off on 1 September, aiming to capitalise on the desire for a green recovery from Covid-19 and show how ‘nature can restore the world’.
Organic September will be promoted across shops, organic box schemes and on social media, with messaging to explain how organic systems support wildlife, help combat climate change, support high animal welfare and reduce exposure to pesticides.
It comes as 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.
“Organic farming is a whole system approach that nurtures the soil, biodiversity and our planet,” said Louisa Pharoah of the Soil Association, which jointly runs the annual campaign along with the Organic Trade Board.
“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.”
Business development director at the Soil Association, Clare McDermott, said: “I am really excited about this year’s Organic September campaign, which is bringing a unified and simple message: nature has the answer.
“With consumer habits shifting and people prioritising choices that are good for the environment and biodiversity, the time is now to move organic forward as a movement and get the message out there that a small swap can make a big difference.”
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 to pollinator-friendly plants.
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