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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Ratcliffe

Are you ready for Change?

With Organic September launching on the 1st September, the Soil Association will begin its annual national campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of organic. But what does organic really mean?

Many people are now choosing organic fruit and vegetables to avoid the chemical sprays used in intensive farming. The term ‘organic’ is highly regulated, therefore growers and producers cannot claim organic without certification – the highest standard offered by the Soil Association.

According to the Soil Association, organic means:

· Fewer pesticides

Almost 300 pesticides can routinely be used in non-organic farming. Many of these remain in the food we eat, despite washing and cooking.

· No artificial colours and preservatives

Hydrogenated fats and controversial artificial food colours and preservatives are all banned by organic standards.

· Always free range

Organic means the very highest animal welfare standards.

· No routine use of antibiotics

Organic means happier, healthier animals raised without the need for routine use of antibiotics.

· No GM ingredients

GM ingredients and crops are banned under Soil Association standards.

In fact an international team of experts led by Newcastle University has shown that organic crops are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally-grown ones.

Analysing 343 studies into the compositional differences between organic and conventional crops, the team found that a switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals – and food made from them – would provide additional antioxidants equivalent to eating between 1-2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

The study, published in the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition, also showed significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals in organic crops. Cadmium, which is one of only four metal contaminants along with lead, arsenic and mercury for which the European Commission has set maximum permitted contamination levels in food, was found to be almost 50% lower in organic crops than conventionally-grown ones.

This adds more support to the Soil Association’s campaign that organic food is beneficial for good health and achieving wellbeing.

This year’s campaign message being:

· Organic Is Everyday & Accessible

Today sourcing organic produce, beauty products and clothes has never been easier. Keep an eye out for the Soil association logo on products when out shopping . Your local health store is a great place to start and they can advise on making ‘simple swaps’.

· Is Food As It Should Be – By opting for organic, you’re part of a movement that is sustainable, helps fight climate change, boosts biodiversity and is better for the environment and animal welfare

· Organic Is Certified –the Soil Association logo as a powerful symbol of trust and transparency, particularly during a period of growing insecurity surrounding food provenance

Remember, eating or incorporating organic into your diet and lifestyle does not always mean paying for more - it can be the small switches to your weekly shop. E.g. swapping your normal pasta for an organic variety. See if you can taste the difference! Besides there are many organic alternatives becoming more widely available ranging from organic teas, dairy products, sauces, cereals and nutritional supplements. Go visit your local health food store to discover the array of organic options. How do you know if product is certified organic? Look for the Soil Association certification logo. For more information about organic visit: And don’t forget, buying organic is a simple form of direct action that can help shape a more sustainable food system. Small steps really can make a difference!

It’s not just about making changes to the foods we choose either. Try and look out for organically certified skincare, vitamin supplements and clothing too. Ethical supplement companies such as Viridian Nutrition believe in sourcing natural ingredients and use sustainable farming methods to guarantee purity and traceability of its nutritional supplements. In fact, more than 75 products in Viridian’s range are certified organic by the Soil Association, further enhancing the provenance, eco-friendliness and quality of the ingredients.

Viridian nutrition are just one example of a rapidly growing sector who are driven by strong ethics, a key focus on sustainability and a desire to give back to the environment. They believe growing organically offers the best chance of long-term good health to people and to the planet.

Dates to look out for:

Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week – 9th to 14th September This year the Soil Association is encouraging shoppers to make #onesmallswap to an organic alternative when purchasing beauty and wellness products.

Organic September Saturday – 14th September Independent health food stores up-and-down the country will be holding events to help you discover the organic possibilities available in the form of sampling, demos and workshops. Why not pay your local health food store a visit?

You can also help raise awareness by sharing posts and stories with your ‘One small swap’ pics #oneonsmallswap on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Or how about uploading your favourite Organic recipes on the soil association website so they can be shared? Alternatively please also search #ChooseOrganic and #OrganicSeptember the Soil Association’s hashtag under social media for more news and highlights during the campaign. And, if you’re not a social media fan? Then why not pop into your local health store to find out more about the benefits of organic and visit which is a great source of information and practical advice.

Organic September 2019 arrives at a vital time. Following a year of unprecedented environmental protest and ground-breaking research, there’s never been a better moment to shout about the role organic agriculture has to play in the climate change debate, halting biodiversity loss and improving soil fertility. Not only is Organic September geared to further expanding the organic market and raising awareness of the many options available to consumers, but this year’s campaign will also act as a springboard for a wider change, one that sees the act of buying organic as the first step in a bigger movement striving towards more sustainable living. Together, we have the power to shape our future; by growing, producing, eating and buying organic and campaigning for agricultural reform whilst sharing knowledge of more sustainable practices. Small ripples big change!

Bare Health in Congleton will be supporting this years’ campaign Organic September Saturday on 14th September - a dedicated day of organic in the independent retailers. For nutritional advice, ideas of how to incorporate organic into your lifestyle and with free product sampling. Do drop in at anytime. We’d be delighted to see you!

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