Organic September - A month to celebrate all things organic

Think new resolutions are just for January? Well, we’re keen to jump the gun a bit, and get our new healthy eating habits started early.

Every year, the Organic September campaign by Soil Association does so much good, by raising awareness about the what, why and how of organic produce.
In the past 5 years alone, there’s been a huge surge in the quantity and variety of organic produce available to us. Now, you can get everything from fruit to fabrics as an organic alternative, and most of those are even readily available at the local supermarket.

So what’s the problem, surely now everyone will buy organic? Well, Soil Association believes that (and we have the tendency to agree) that a lack of knowledge around the organic label is still holding consumers back. There’s a slight increase in the cost of organic options - naturally, due to the huge amount of extra care that goes into making them - which can deter customers, especially if they don’t know what they’re paying the extra for.

In that sense, the main thing that’s holding the growth of the organic movement back is knowledge. Hence, the reason why Organic September was born.

This September, Smarter HQ will be following Organic September, and we urge you to do the same.

To get the month started, we’ve used this blog post to show you just how much good you can do by making organic swaps in your family food shop.

What does ‘organic’ mean?

This is the best place to start, after all. Organic is a form of production process, and it includes a strict set of guidelines, which all producers need to follow.

If you see food, drink, toiletries or fabrics that have earned the organic label, then they will have been thoroughly vetted and approved by an organic regulations body. So, it’s not an easy title to earn, and certainly not one that can be achieved with short cuts.

Not only is there a careful accreditation process, but there are a whole lot of boxes that organic producers need to tick.

In fact, organic represents the most extensive types of centrally regulated farming methods in Europe.

In order to meet organic requirements, any product must achieve the following (just to name some of the criteria required):
  • No artificial colours
  • No additives or preservatives
  • No hydrogenated fats
  • A top standard of animal welfare
  • All animals must be kept completely free-range, with plenty of access to nature and fresh air
  • Animal mutilations are strictly prohibited
  • No genetically modified (GM) ingredients
  • Strictly regulated use of chemical pesticides (which are used to kill pests, insects and weeds), as these are one of the main factors causing global insect declines
  • No artificial fertilisers
  • Birds and pollinating insects are encouraged, so natural biodiversity is increased
  • Crop rotations are used to reduce the occurrence of plant disease

What are the benefits of organic food?

As you can see, organic production methods have a wide range of benefits to help consumers, animals and the planet.

Firstly, eating organic produce is a much healthier option for your family. These products are free from the unpleasant (and often dangerous) chemicals that commonly seep into non-organic foods.

With organic food, you can rest easy knowing that you’re not inadvertently consuming pesticides, fertilisers or other unnatural ingredients. What’s more, the removal of additives, preservatives and GM ingredients does a whole lot of good for you.

Animal welfare is a top priority in organic production methods. So, it’s a great choice for anyone who is adhering to a veggie or vegan diet, or indeed anyone else who wishes to do their bit to stand by animal rights.

And finally, it also does wonders for the planet. Organic production treats Mother Nature with respect, and does not put pressure on our farms.

Instead of exploiting the natural world, organic production allows farmers to grow fresh and delicious food, while preserving the natural landscape for many, many more years to come.

By limiting our dependence on chemicals for production, we can help natural biodiversity to flourish, thereby keeping the Earth’s animals and landscape in a far healthier place.

What organic products can I buy?

There’s loads out there for you to choose from! Products that are available to buy as organic alternatives include:
  • Vegetables - like salad, avocados, peas, cauliflower and beetroot
  • Fruit - like apples, oranges, lemons, limes, pears, grapes, berries and bananas
  • Meat - including chicken, pork, fish and beef
  • Baking staples - like flour and sugar
  • Oil
  • Salt
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate
  • Snacks, cereal bars and little treats
  • Body wash
  • Soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Loofahs
  • Baby wash

What can I do?

Now that you know how much there is to be gained from buying organic, try making a few swaps to these organic products.

Throughout Organic September, we encourage you to learn more about what organic means and how many products there are that have earned this label. Build up your knowledge by checking out the Soil Association and Go Organic websites.

You can also get the family involved by joining in with a wide range of Organic September events - visit the Go Organic Uk website to see what’s coming up.

The Organic September website is also a great place to find ideas for getting your home stuck in to Organic September.

A fun, simple way to get the family excited about eating organic is by cooking this fresh, tasty produce together. That way, they can see the benefits of organic production first-hand.

To help you get started on your month-long fresh cooking fest, let us introduce you to CKBK.

CKBK is a digital recipe bank, which allows users to browse through some of the world’s best cookbooks and over 100,000 recipes. It comes highly recommended by both leading chefs and food writers, as the "Spotify for cookbooks". With its powerful search tool and smart filters, you can find recipes that match your tastes and dietary preferences - so it’s ideal for finding the best recipes to showcase your fresh organic ingredients.

Now, CKBK and Smarter have teamed up to bring you full control of your fridge and recipes. Buy a FridgeCam today, and you’ll get a free 30 day trial to CKBK (no credit card required). It’s never been easier to set up your very own smart kitchen.

Head over to our online shop to find out more about the FridgeCam, as well as this exciting new offer with CKBK.

Written by Josephine Walbank