What is Certified Organic?
Certified Organic systems recognise that through the food we eat, our health is reliant on the health of the soil. Food produce labeled as certified organic meets a strict set of regulations or ‘standards’ that cover how that food was produced.
In Organic Farming:
- the use of artificial the chemical fertilisers is prohibited – instead, organic farmers develop a healthy, fertile soil by growing and rotating a mixture of crops using plants to fix naturally available nitrogen and carbon from the atmosphere
- the use of pesticide and herbicide is prohibited – instead they encourage natural predators like the lady bird and develop nutrient-rich soil to grow healthy crops that have a natural resistance to pests and diseases
- animal cruelty is prohibited and a truly free-range life for farm animals is guaranteed
- the routine use of drugs, antibiotics and wormers is disallowed - instead the farmer will use preventative methods, like moving animals to fresh pasture, keeping smaller herd sizes and growing medicinal livestock herbs
- the production and use of GM in animal feed is totally banned
How is Organic Farming Different?
Love Your Planet and Yourself With Our Five Reasons to Choose Organic
Certified Organic is healthier choice, is better for the planet through lower CO2 emissions and new soil development, is kinder to livestock and wildlife and allows us to personally make a big difference - simply through the way we eat. With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why certified organic produce delivers the best overall value for money.
1. Better for your planet
Over 20% of greenhouse gas emissions come from food and farming today. Nitrogen fertiliser manufacturing and use is the worst offender. To produce just one tonne of nitrogen fertiliser takes one tonne of oil, seven tonnes of greenhouse gasses and one hundred tonnes of water. Organic farmers work with nature to feed the soil and control pests. In doing so they also remove atmospheric carbon dioxide and nitrogen the and beneficially sequester it in their soils. By choosing to eat certified organic, locally grown and seasonal produce, we can significantly reduce and reverse our impact on the planet and our children who will inherit it.
2. Better for your health
No food has higher amounts of beneficial minerals, essential amino acids and vitamins than certified organic food. Organic food contains higher levels of vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and chromium as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants and Omega 3. Pasture-based certified organic milk is on average 68% higher in Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Controversial additives including growth hormones, aspartame, tartrazine, MSG and hydrogenated fats are banned under organic standards.
311 pesticides are used routinely in non-organic farming, and in 2005 over 40% of all non-organic fruit, vegetables and bread tested positive for pesticides by the UK government. Chemicals were found in all oranges tested, 90% of bread, 72% of grapes and 95% of pears.
3. Kinder to animals
Animal welfare is at the heart of organic systems. Certified organic standards rigorously protect all aspects of animal wellbeing, from rearing, feeding, shelter, transportation and slaughter. In fact, no farming system has higher levels welfare than those working to Australian certified organic standards.
Certified organic animals are not routinely given antibiotics in their feed and are free to pursue natural behaviour because they have plenty of outside space to thrive and grow. Organic standards prohibit cruelty and guarantee truly free-range pasture-based lives for farm animals.
Many consumers don’t realise that certified organic products are also free range. Eggs and meat with the Australian Biological Farmers Association symbol have been reared to the highest level of free-range standards. Birds are looked after in smaller flocks, spend more of their lives roaming outside on fresh grass and have more space in their coops.
4. Better for wildlife
Certified organic farmers rely on natural methods to manage the land and control pests. They encourage natural predators and develop nutrient-rich soil and healthy crops with a natural resistance to pests and diseases. Wide field edges and shelterbelts are left as natural habitats for bugs and birds to thrive.
Some government research has found that diversity and quantity of plant, insect and bird life is up to 30% greater on organic than non-organic farms.
5. GM free
Consumers wanting to avoid GM products may be surprised to know that over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported each year to feed conventional livestock, which in turn stock the shelves of supermarkets with pork, bacon, milk, cheese and other dairy products. Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are banned under certified organic standards.
The information on this page has been adopted from the excellent UK Soil Association website. Other good links from the UK Soil Association:
Is It Realy Organic - Click Here Bogas Traders - Click Here Supporting Real Growers - Click Here
Setting up an Organic Buying Group - Click Here