This autumn also sees the return of Organic September – The Soil Association’s annual campaign dedicated to organic food and farming. It is a fantastic initiative and one that I hope will help encourage people to embrace sustainable principles – not just for the benefit of our own good health, but also for the good of our animals and the environment that surrounds us.
At Daylesford we are certain that farming, shopping and eating organically is best for our soil, environment, sustainability, animals, health and wellness – and tastes better too.
Never before has it been so important to know the story about where your food comes from, and how it is produced. Your choices should not be underestimated in their influence on wider trends and industry standards.
As we celebrate Organic September with the Soil Association, we have highlighted four key areas in which the benefits of choosing organic are most evident and have the greatest impact. We recommend the below staples as the best starting points for those interested in choosing organic.
Organic dairy cows tend to live longer, happier lives thanks to their high welfare, truly free range lifestyles (the cows in our dairy herd live for an average of 6-7 lactations, which is much higher than the national average of 2.6). They enjoy a 100% GM-free, forage-based diet ideally suited to their ruminant stomachs. They have little need for medical intervention, so there is no need for the routine use of antibiotics.
Research also shows that organic milk is higher in nutritional value with up to 50% more beneficial omega 3 fatty acids.
The standards for rearing organic chickens far exceed any other type of farming from the way they are reared, transported and eventually slaughtered. Choosing organic means you ensure transparency in what you are buying throughout the whole process.
Organic chickens are free to roam wide outdoor ranges with no overcrowding. Their instinct to forage for grubs, worms, grass, clover and seeds is nurtured and their natural diet is supplemented with an organic, GM-free pellet feed.
Organic high quality, high welfare, truly free range birds grow at a naturally slow pace and live significantly longer than even free range chickens, giving the meat time to develop a unique flavor resulting in superb eating quality.
ORGANIC FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Organic fruits & vegetables are grown in rich, healthy soil that has not been depleted by the overuse of pesticides, fertilisers, GM crops and harsh chemicals.
Many crops are susceptible to absorbing pesticides used in non-organic farming systems and the best way to reduce your exposure is to buy organic.
By rotating crops and selecting varieties with a natural resistance to particular pests and diseases, organic farmers are able to reduce or avoid disease and the need to control them with chemical inputs. Organic farmers are permitted to use just 15 pesticides, derived from natural ingredients, under very restricted circumstances.
Organic standards far exceed free range when it comes to farming hens for eggs. The smaller flock sizes help to keep disease and distress at bay.
Organic hens thrive on an outdoor lifestyle with freedom to express their natural behaviors such as pecking and roaming. They enjoy the highest standards of animal welfare including an organic, GM-free diet, smaller flocks and never have their beaks trimmed. The routine use of antibiotics is banned.
Organic eggs are especially high in protein and omega 3, give us all eight essential amino acids and are rich in vitamins (A, D, E & K) and nutrients Betaine and Choline – necessary for brain development.