The UK Government states “for foods to be labelled organic, at least 95% of the farm grown ingredients must come from organically produced plants and animals”. These foods are often produced under strict regulations.
Organic fruit and vegetables are grown without the use of heavy toxic metals and pesticides. By buying organic you are supporting the quality of food and how it is produced, you are also supporting the farmers who protect and care about the environment in which we live. It is true that not everyone can afford to buy organic all of the time, but if it fits into your budget, buy organic wherever possible. Especially any foods which come from animal sources (eggs, meat & dairy).
You only have to visit your local supermarket to witness the huge variety of fruit and vegetables on offer from foreign places. These fruit and vegetables travel many miles and are often picked ripe. If you want to get the freshest produce at the best prices, then your local farmers market or shop is your best source. During the lighter months, individuals can be seen selling on the sides of the roads in some villages, which is where we have picked up some of the best cherries or strawberries! There are also many weekly delivery services that will bring a box of tailored produce direct to your door from their farms. For example, Abel & Cole (www.abelandcole.co.uk/) and Riverford (www.riverford.co.uk/) boxes are the most popular ones providing a nationwide service.
Besides the much better flavor and great quality, there is something nice about eating fruit and vegetables at certain times of the year. You can find out what’s in season at www.eatseasonally.com.
Researchers from Newcastle University undertook the largest comprehensive nutritional analysis ever taken on organic food. They examined 343 peer-reviewed studies for differences between organic and conventional fruit, vegetables and cereals. They found that the organic foods had significantly lower levels of toxic metals and was up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants. They believe that switching to organic fruit and vegetables could give the same benefits as adding one or two portions of the recommended “five a day” to your diet and the nutritional quality is much higher.
Helen Browning, the chief executive of Soil Association, which campaigns for organic farming says “the crucially important thing about this research is that it shatters the myth that how we farm does not affect the quality of the food we eat”.
It is clear that organic farming delivers real differences in nutrients between organic and non-organic crops. Download a summary of the research: ‘Organic versus Non-organic‘, published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Find out more about organic farming from the Soil Association http://www.soilassociation.org/.