Organic means a way of farming that relies on a healthy soil, plants such as clover to fertilise the land instead of oil based fertilisers, insects to act as natural predators instead of pesticides and a high standard of animal welfare.
Organic farming releases less greenhouse gases than non-organic farming. Choosing organic will significantly reduce our carbon footprint. The Government's Climate Change act has committed the UK to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, with a 34% cut by 2030. Organic farming offers a good practical way to achieve climate- friendly food production. This is because it holds onto higher levels of carbon in the soil and is less dependent on oil-based fertilisers and pesticides.
Soil Carbon: New research from the Soil Association reveals that if all UK farmland was converted to organic farming, at least 3.2 million tonnes of carbon would be taken up by the soil each year - the equivalent of taking nearly 1 million cars off the road.
Organic standards insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air to thrive and grow. No system of farming has higher levels of animal welfare standards than organic farms working to Soil Association standards. Soil Association certified meat and dairy animals are fed a healthy diet, there is no factory farming, they have had access to the outdoors, and have been cared for in ways that reduce stress and disease. Under organic rules, all aspects of animal welfare are tightly controlled, including rearing, shelter, feeding, transportation and slaughter. Ensuring good health is better than relying on drugs to treat disease, which is why so much emphasis is put on practices that encourage healthy farm animals. This is achieved in many practical ways, such as keeping numbers down to reduce stress, providing appropriate nutritious feed and ensuring easy access to the outdoors. Organic animals cannot be given growth promoting hormones, regular doses of antibiotics or genetically modified (GM) feed. Sick animals are treated using homeopathic and complementary remedies, unless a vet says an animal needs antibiotics; in which case they must be given. To ensure that no residues are left, a set period of time has to pass before the animal can produce products for sale as organic.
Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds ,butterflies and insects. In fact, the UK Government’s own advisors found that plant, insect and bird life is up to 50% greater on organic farms. The increased bio diversity is due to several factors. Organic farming depends on encouraging a diverse ecosystem to maintain soil fertility and to keep pests under control naturally. It does this by encouraging nature’s own predators by maintaining hedgerows and creating open, ‘wild’ spaces at the side of fields thereby eliminating the use of insecticides, as well as changing the crops planted each season to keep soil fertile and avoid the need for chemicals. The use of natural fertilizers such as clover also eliminates the use of fossil fuel intensive conventional fertilizers, which in turn contributes to carbon reduction and increased sustainability. A scientific literature review by English Nature and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), published in 2004, found that there are more birds, butterflies, beetles, bats and wild flowers on organic farms than on non-organic farms. Organic farming develops good soil and healthy crops which have a strong natural resistance to pests and diseases. Organic farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays, produces less carbon dioxide and fewer dangerous wastes.
Genetically modified crops and ingredients are banned under organic standards. You may be surprised to know that over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported each year to feed non-organic livestock which produce pork, bacon, milk, cheese and other dairy products.
All Roots & Wings organic products are marked with an organic certifying body including the Soil Association. Inspectors from the certifying bodies check the products and the ingredients before they permit their mark to go onto the pack.