Wholegood is proud to be certified organic. In the face of climate change and rising diet-related ill-health, the challenges of producing healthier food, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and pollution and protecting wildlife and animal welfare grow more acute by the year. Small changes make a big difference and switching just your weekly fruit and veg to organic really can help contribute to changing our food systems for the better.
First of all, what is organic?
Organic means working with nature, not against it.
Organic food is produced on organic farms using a modern, strictly controlled system of farm management. Unlike non-organic food production, which makes wide use of manufactured and mined fertilisers and pesticides, organic food is produced with natural fertilisers from plants, less energy and more respect for animals that provide it.
Organic farming also means a more environmentally sustainable management of the land and natural environment - this means more wildlife!
Food you can trust
Organic food comes from trusted sources. Any food products labelled as organic must meet a strict set of standards which define what farmers and food manufacturers can and cannot do in the production of organic food.
Organic farming and food production is not easy and takes real commitment and attention to detail, and is backed up by rigorous, independent inspection and certification.
Why choose organic?
To know what’s in your food
Organic food is food you can trust - unlike much of the food we eat today, it comes from trusted sources. All organic farms and food companies are inspected at least once a year and the standards for organic food are laid down in European law.
Organic is naturally good - GM ingredients, hydrogenated fats and controversial artificial food colours and preservatives are banned under organic standards. In fact, only 36 of the 314 food additives approved for use across the EU are permitted in organic food!
To reduce your exposure to potentially harmful pesticides
What many people don’t realise is that over 320 pesticides can be routinely used in non-organic farming and pesticides are these are often present in non-organic food. Some of them remain in the food we eat, despite washing and cooking. Some studies suggest pesticides could be on one in three non-organic foods! In contrast, pesticides are rarely found in organic food.
Eating organically grown food is the best way to reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides - this is because the certification provides an assurance that food across the whole range will, overall, have fewer pesticides in them than non-organic food.
It’s naturally different
Organic farming recognises the direct connection between our health and how the food we eat is produced. Recent studies suggest organic production may result in higher levels of some nutrients in food and lower levels of undesirable pesticides and chemical residues. The latest research shows there is between 18% and 69% more antioxidants than food produced using non-organic methods.
Correspondingly, studies have shown similar results with milk - there is no system of farming which produces milk with higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids.
To help combat climate change
Organic farming offers the best, currently available, practical model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture 10. This is because it is less dependent on fossil-based fertilisers and pesticides and it also stores higher levels of carbon in the soil.
If organic farming was common practice in the UK, we could offset at least 23% of UK agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions through soil carbon sequestration alone!
To help protect our wildlife
There is growing scientific evidence that certain harmful pesticides, especially neonicotinoid insecticides, play a key part in the declines in honeybees and other pollinators worldwide. In the UK alone, 75% of UK butterfly species have declined in the past decade9 and eight of our 25 bumblebee species are threatened, with two already extinct!
Because of the complete absence of herbicides and the severely restricted use of fungicides and insecticides, organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds and butterflies. Organic farmers manage wildlife habitats as a vital part of a successful organic farm and overall, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms and there are 30% more species!
To help save our Soils
2015 is the United Nation’s ‘International Year of Soils‘- a campaign launched in response to the devastating evidence that we may have just 60 years’ of topsoil left. Soil is a non-renewable resource; its preservation is essential for food security and our sustainable future. Soil is a major store of carbon – it contains three times as much as the atmosphere and five times as much as forests so it’s vital to help mitigate global warming 10.
Organic production enhances soil life, natural soil fertility and water quality. Organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops. Natural, sustainable soil fertility is encouraged through the use of natural nitrogen fixing crops like red clover rather than synthetic fertilisers and through composting. Crop rotation ensures healthy crops eliminating the need for artificial pesticides.
For a GM-free diet
Over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported each year to feed the majority of non-organic livestock. These then produce chicken, eggs, pork, bacon, milk, cheese and other dairy products.
Genetically modified crops, animal feed and ingredients are completely banned under European Union and international organic standards.