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News from the farm

Guy's news: why organic?

I know a significant number of customers don’t care whether the box on their doorstep is organic so long as the veg is fresh, tastes good and is reasonably priced. They tend to be male and bemoan the lack of frozen peas in their diet since Riverford got in the door. Many have a suspicion that the whole organic thing is a bit of a fad and perhaps even a con. Had I not grown up on a farm I suspect I might have been one of them, but after 25 years of farming organically I would never go back. As we are in the middle of Organic Fortnight I thought I would say, very briefly, why.

1. It’s better for you: no pesticide residues, strict control on additives, far fewer antibiotics and arguably better flavour and nutritional value.
2. Better for animals: the highest standards backed up by law; far higher than free range.
3. Better for the environment: more biodiversity, particularly in the soil, and about a third less CO2 emissions.
4. Better for those who work the land: we are not exposed to pesticides.
5. Better for humanity: organic farming teaches humility in the face of nature. All world rulers should have a veg patch; we would have fewer wars (just my opinion, that one).

I could cite evidence and scientific papers, but I am sure the anti lobby could cite just as many proving the opposite. You will have to make up your own minds. Most conventional growers I meet do not eat the veg they grow commercially; many have their own gardens which they tend, very nearly, organically. To me that says it all.


    Guy Singh-Watson

    Self-confessed veg nerd, Guy Singh-Watson has over the last 30 years taken Riverford from one man and a wheelbarrow delivering homegrown organic veg to friends, to a national veg box scheme delivering to around 50,000 customers a week. Guy is an inspirational, passionate, opinionated and admired figure in the world of organic farming, who still spends more time in the fields than in the boardroom. Twice awarded BBC Radio 4 Farmer of the Year, Guy is passionate about sharing with others the organic farming and business knowledge he has accumulated over the last three decades. His video rants have provided a powerful platform to do this, with a video on pesticides going viral on Facebook to reach 5.6 million views and 91,000 shares. His weekly veg box newsletters connect customers to the farm with refreshingly honest accounts of the trials and tribulations of producing organic food, and the occasional rant about farming, ethical and business issues he feels strongly about.  

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