Organics is a fascinating and large topic. There are many different views held on organics and the reasons for buying and using organic products.
A healthy debate is constantly ongoing in the media and other circles, which OF&G considers a very good thing. We accept that no system is perfect (in any walk of life) but believe strongly that organics has much to offer, not least choice for the consumer. As a sector it is also constantly evolving and improving – tightening the standards.
On this website we have provided links to many other sources of information about organic products and processes, as well as places where you can buy organic. We believe that consumers should be able to make an informed choice about what they buy and that the farmers and companies interested in becoming involved in organic production, processing and marketing can see clearly the benefits and requirements of doing so.
Some of the key reasons why we think organic systems are good are:
At the heart of organic farming is the requirement and desire to put back whatever is taken out of a natural resource (if not improve it in the process). This means that fields are not stripped of their nutrients in order to grow crops without them being put back by a natural process (such as the growing of clover, which fixes essential nitrogen back in the soil).
Also, because harmful pesticides and fertilisers are routinely avoided, there is far less impact on the environment and water courses – which can have a long term cost to everyone if they are damaged.
The health and wellbeing of animals is a central part of organic husbandry. They must have a good life, with good living conditions, including access to the outside and being held at stocking densities which give them plenty of space to live comfortably and move around.
Also, animals are not given growth promoters and do not have any veterinary medicines used on them routinely. They are only treated with drugs when their health and welfare would be affected not to do so. When this happens, they must be withdrawn from the production system for, typically, three times longer than is the case in non-organic farming.
While it would be foolish to claim that organic food and other products alone will make you more healthy, it is common-sense to suggest that if the food we eat has had less chemicals used in its production, there will be less residues in the end product.
Science has yet to conclusively prove that organic is significantly less harmful than non-organic food, but we like the fact that consumers have the choice to avoid non-organic products if they so wish. In some instances it has been proved that organic products have more healthy elements than their non-organic equivalent.
An example of this is organic milk, which contains far more Omega 3 fatty acids, which play an important role in maintaining a healthy heart, supple and flexible joints, healthy growth, strong bones and teeth. It can also assist in the brain development of unborn children when drunk by pregnant women. Researchers at Aberdeen University found that organic milk contains 71% more Omega 3 than non-organic milk.
Empowering farmers and growers
Many farmers say they feel that organic farming is more like the job should be; instead of throwing expensive chemicals at problems, they have to use their brain to find a solution.
Organic food also has a close association with direct sales to the public. Huge quantities of organic food are sold through box schemes, farmers markets and at the farm gate. This reduces the road and air miles food has to travel and cuts out some of the middlemen, allowing those who produced the food to keep more of its value in return for their hard work.
Re-connecting the public with farming and food
Because a lot of organic food is sold directly by the people who grow it, it helps the people who buy it to re-connect with the process and practice of producing food. They can ask questions and even see for themselves the fields and farms it came from. Farming, both organic and non-organic, is a crucial part of the UK economy and the more people who understand what is involved, the better for our country as a whole.