Ethical businesses such as and the co-op offer a real alternative for people concerned with these issues and with businesses that combine a strong ethical dimension in tandem with making profits.
Here are some of the main features of organic farming:
o Organic farming severely restricts the use of artificial chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
o Instead, organic farmers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops.
o Animals are reared without the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers common in intensive livestock farming.
Synthetic dyes and ingredients such as Sudan1 were in the national news in February and can cause cancer. See http://www.food.gov.uk for further details. Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.
Why Buy Organic?
It has never been easier to shop for organic food, and there has never been so much choice. Every food category now has an organic alternative. Its also common sense; organic food is good food. Good to eat, good for the environment, good for the small-scale farmers and the farm workers who produce it.
Chefs across the country are committed to using organic ingredients because plants from healthy soils and organically fed livestock provide us with more flavorful food. Organic foods allow true flavour to shine through unlike other non-organic foods that look and taste good but are often full of E numbers and artificial flavourings and ingredients.
By supporting local, sustainable and organic farms in your local community you also support the larger community of which we are all a part. By eating organic food you are providing the healthiest choice for your family and supporting the farms that provide us with healthy and ecological neighbourhoods.
The ‘go local’ food movement is flourishing – over 15% of people buy organic food locally and this number continues to rise as the number of farmer’s markets, box schemes, cafes and restaurants serving organic food increase. Locally produced foods are often fresher, healthier and more economical. It cuts down on transport costs and ‘food miles’ where an average shopping basket can include fruit and vegetables transported from all over the world.
The big supermarkets in the UK are about to introduce there own vegetable box schemes. This is good because the supermarket schemes should encourage more people to buy organic food and are likely to raise the profile and public awareness of the benefits of organic box schemes in general. These new organic consumers will hopefully become convinced of the benefits of organic food and become more interested in and aware of the advantages of buying local too. The supermarket schemes could therefore be a positive first step on people’s journey to buying organic, local food generally and perhaps moving on to subscribe to independent box scheme businesses – as well as supporting other local food outlets like farmers’ markets or independent retailers.
The supermarkets themselves may find their businesses becoming subject to more far-reaching changes, as their customers are exposed to the principles and practices which inspire the original local food and grassroots box-scheme movement.