Organic September: What Is It & How to Get Involved As A Student
Organic September is a month-long campaign and celebration of all things organic. Whether you are discussing the way organic food is grown by farmers or the way we can as consumers can live a more sustainable, organic lifestyle, there are important issues to focus on.
This month is the perfect time to inform those who are not aware of the dedication required to grow whilst working with nature, not against it. As well as how people can get on board and make little changes in their life that can become positive daily habits.
We can switch the way we live to eat organic food, wear organic clothing, and to use homeware that is organic.
Make the most of the events, the social media campaigns, and get thinking about how you can make a positive change in your life!
What does organic mean?
The term organic is used to describe a system of high-quality food production and farming which is produced using natural methods.
Organic foods benefit the whole food system because they are produced without the use of fertilisers, pesticides, and additives.
Instead, natural occurrences, such as the presence of ladybirds, are encouraged on the land to ward off other insects that could damage crop.
For food to be classified as organic, at least 99% of its ingredients must be from organically produced animals or crops and it must meet a strict set of rules and standards.
So, if you see a product with an organic stamp on it, it will have been registered as such, only after adhering to these standards.
The inspections take place annually to ensure that producers continue to meet these standards.
The guidelines from The Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have a focus on the maintenance of soils, animals, ecosystems, and people.
They state that; “organic food is the product of a farming system which avoids the use of man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives”.
There are different control bodies that are approved by DEFRA within the UK, including ‘The Organic Food Federation’, ‘The Soil Association’, and the ‘Quality Welsh Food Certification’.
Is buying organic more expensive?
You might have noticed that organic food often costs more money than you are used to paying.
The main reason for this is that the processes of production take a much greater level of care and attention, especially when it comes to organic farmers acting as environmental stewards.
The price tag, as with anything you find that is bespoke and artisanal, away from the big brand names, comes at a cost.
So, the price reflects the extra time, effort, and the need for expert standards that are required to produce organic food and organic products.
On top of the processes, to gain the certification and product stamps that showcase that an item is organic, there are fees that must be paid to the certification bodies.
This helps fund the regular, required inspections and to ensure that standards and processes are consistently evolving and improving.
Every farm and producer that works to sell organic goods does so from an environment that has been geared up to deliver to these high standards.
The conditions for animals are much better on organic farms, and this can cost more money to install and develop when compared with other types of farming.
What is the difference between organic, free range, and battery?
One of the easiest ways to learn about Organic September is to think about hens and eggs. The conditions that hens live in will determine the type of chicken and eggs that you purchase and eat.
There are a few key differences that can help you work out what you are buying, including:
- The size of the flock
- The amount of space they have
- The way they are treated
- How they are fed
- Use of antibiotics
Organic chickens are kept in much smaller flocks, with the Soil Association setting a threshold of 2,000 hens maximum to be certified as organic.
With smaller flocks, it is natural that there is better access to outdoor spaces, better hygiene, and you’ll also find that organic hens are not routinely given antibiotics and are fed a GM-free diet.
Is eating organic food healthier?
We’ve established that organic food is better for the planet, but is it healthier for you?
There is no definitive answer to this, but what you can say is that organic products are minimally processed and there are not the added pesticides and other chemicals.
This can only be a good thing. A healthy, balanced diet is important to your health. Fresh fruit and vegetables, organic produce, will only be of benefit to your health.
Why should you buy organic?
As students, it might be that you are living on a tight budget at times, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give Organic September a go.
When you first move away to university you are exposed to different ways of thinking than you may have experienced at home.
If you haven’t known much about living organically and changing the way you live to be more sustainable, Organic September is one good way to learn more about the topic.
There are a few good reasons why you should buy organic, check them out below.
Friendly for the planet
Organic farming is good for the environment as it doesn’t use any chemicals or pesticides that are used in traditional farming of the past century.
What this means is there is a reduction in the harm caused to local wildlife, especially bees as they are important to the survival of the planet (save the bees!).
Better animal welfare
Organic providers have much higher standards in the way they treat animals.
Organic livestock are not fed food that is packed full of GMO and hormones.
The animals are not kept cooped up inside tight housing (thank god), and instead are given access to the outdoors.
Smaller herds are often used, ensuring that each animal has care and attention.
It doesn’t necessarily correlate that organic food contains more nutrients than other food.
However, if you are removing chemicals and pesticides, it makes sense that it would be a healthier diet that you are consuming.
Living organically does also encourage a healthy lifestyle generally, eating fresh fruit and vegetables, removing processed foods from your diet etc.
Organic September doesn’t have to be the month you change all aspects of your lifestyle drastically.
It could just be when you take one simple step where you try out one thing and see how it fits with your lifestyle.
You might want to invest in organic kitchenware or start buying organic fruit, as a step towards a sustainable lifestyle that is friendly for the planet.
How to get involved with Organic September
Are you wondering how you can get involved in Organic September? You can make small changes that could make a big difference to how you live.
It doesn’t even have to cost you that much to begin with, depending on the type of change you make.
1. Buy seasonal food
A great way to get into eating organically without breaking the bank is to eat seasonally.
This is a good way to find local, organic produce that doesn’t cost loads. As you’re not paying the extra cost for imported goods that aren’t in season in the UK.
2. Buy own-brand organic
As organic produce continues to increase in popularity, you’ll find that many supermarkets are starting to offer their own-brand organic products.
These are often cheaper organic alternatives, with good deals on milk and eggs for example.
2. Keep an eye out for Soil Association symbol
There are organic products within the beauty and cosmetics world.
Keep an eye out for the Soil Association symbol and other stamps of organic certification to help you identify organic products that you can try.
3. Search for a zero-waste shop
These types of shops are beginning to pop up around the country.
These are shops and supermarkets where you can refill certain foods without worrying about plastic packaging.
Fruits, nuts, pulses, and other dried foodstuffs, alongside some beauty products, can help you increase your intake of organic products whilst increasing your sustainability.
See if there is one within your uni city or town!
Organic September is an informative month where we can all learn more about how to live organically and sustainably.
As you can see, there’s simple measures you can take to get involved with Organic September. You can make little changes to your life that are organic and eco-friendly.
It isn’t just food that you can change, but also beauty and skincare products, clothing, homeware, and other items that are organic and can make a positive difference to how you live.
You should take a look at our blog on Oktoberfest 2022 so, you can get involved in the exciting celebrations!