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‘Nature would choose organic’

Why the focus for 2022’s Organic September matters
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
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This article first appeared in our Organic September issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 September 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Organic September is a month-long UK-wide celebration of organic food, textiles, beauty and wellbeing products, which capitalises on the desire for a green recovery from Covid-19 and calls for a sustainable, planet-centric approach to production.

The Organic Trade Board (OTB), in collaboration with Soil Association Certification and campaign partners Ecotone, RBorganic and Ethical Food Company, chose ‘Nature would choose organic’ as the theme for 2022’s Organic September.

The message illustrates that if wildlife had a voice, it would ask for all farming to follow organic principles that help to maintain balance in delicate ecosystems.

‘We’re on a mission to drive home the message that ‘nature would choose organic’ to convey that organic farming methods are the most beneficial to soil, wildlife and nature, crucially paving the way for a sustainable future’, explained Cristina Dimetto, general manager of the OTB.

Organic sales are rising

Demand for organic isn’t just coming from the ladybirds, bees and worms – it’s a growing trend among UK shoppers, too.

The Soil Association Organic Market Report 2022 valued the total organic market at £3bn, while the latest Kantar figures from the OTB show there was an additional organic spend of £114.6m last year compared with the previous year. The volume of organic items that are purchased per shopping trip is also increasing.

These are all good signs for the organic market, and this year’s Organic September will move away from the historic focus on small organic switches in the month of September. 2022’s Organic September will be more about encouraging a long-term organic lifestyle choice.

Why go organic?

Organic takes a ‘whole system’ approach to farming and food production. This means farming in a way that aims to support our whole food system, from soils and farm animals to the health of people, nature and the planet.

Around the world, we are losing soil much faster than it’s formed – alarmingly between 10 and 40 times faster.

One UN official stated that we may have fewer than 60 harvests left. 95% of our food production relies on soil, so it has never been more crucial to farm in a way that protects and preserves the soil.

Instead of using artificial fertilisers, organic farmers nourish their soils, keep them fertile and prevent erosion using manure, compost, ‘cover crops’ and crop rotations.

As a result, organic farms are havens for wildlife; According to the Soil Association, plant, insect and bird life is on average 50% more abundant on organic farms, which are home to around 30% more species of wildlife.

Bee-friendly farming

There are up to seven times more wild bees in organic grain fields. For every 10% increase in bee-friendly habitats like those found on organic farms, bee numbers and diversity increase by over a third. A small increase in bee-friendly organic habitat would boost bee numbers by a third.

There are around 75% more wild bees on organic farms, and organic farming can improve the numbers of bees found in habitats surrounding the farm as well.

If pesticides were substituted for more sustainable farming practices (like organic), this could slow or reverse the decline in insects.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is one of the most important aspects of organic farming. Organic standards insist that animals are given plenty of space and fresh air, and that they are raised in conditions that suit their natural behaviours.

Smaller flocks and herds and greater access to the outdoors mean organic animals don’t have to be routinely treated with antibiotics and wormers.

Mutilations like beak-trimming to prevent the aggressive side-effects of stress are also not allowed (or needed) on organic farms.

Organic farmers are encouraged to close the loop on their farms by making use of what’s to hand and limiting the use of imported resources.

Nature has the answer to restoring our planet – and organic works with nature to protect our soil, our wildlife and our world.​

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