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Five reasons to #chooseorganic

At Triodos Bank, we only lend money to producers and retailers that are working for positive change. We believe that this means supporting an organic farming system that not only mitigates the impact that agriculture has on the environment, but actively seeks to improve it. This Organic September, we take a look at five reasons to #chooseorganic.

1. You’ll know what’s in your food

Organic standards prohibit GM (genetically-modified) crops and the routine use of antibiotics. Because artificial fertilisers and herbicides are forbidden, no system of farming has lower pesticide use. This is why the avoidance of pesticides and additives remains one of the biggest motivators for shoppers who choose organic: not only are they limiting their exposure to these chemicals, but they are also diminishing the impact that farming has on the environment.

2. Organic farming uses fewer pesticides

Incredibly, in the 20 years between 1994 and 2004, the use of glyphosate (a herbicide also found in Roundup, a domestic weedkiller) on British cereals increased by 700%. With this level of exposure, it’s not surprising that numerous pesticides are being found on British food even after cooking and washing. Government testing in 2015 found pesticide residues in 43% of British food, and many of these contained more than one pesticide. More recent research found 123 different pesticides on the fruit provided to school children in the UK.

3. Organic standards are better for animals

Organic farming has the highest standards of animal welfare and covers living conditions, food quality as well as transport and slaughter. This means that animals are reared without the routine use of antibiotics and they graze naturally on a non-GM diet in surroundings designed to replicate their natural feeding habitats, such as agroforestry systems for chickens. For example, at Triodos Bank customer Sheepdrove Organic Farm they have introduced poultry to woodland, providing a stimulating environment for their chickens, while also supporting self-medication, balanced diet and foraging behaviour.

“On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms, with more biodiversity among species”

 

4. Organic farming practices are better for wildlife

Over half of Britain’s wildlife species have declined since 1970, and more than one in ten are currently facing extinction. By farming organically, farmers can help limit the impact that agriculture has on biodiversity. On average, plant, insect and bird life is 50% more abundant on organic farms, with more biodiversity among species. Organic farming systems ensure that farming works for the environment and countryside, as well as the consumer and grower.

5. Organic farming is better for the planet

By working with nature, organic farming helps support the planet and reduce the contribution of agriculture to climate change. Healthy farms and ecosystems begin with soil. It can take hundreds of years for just one or two centimetres of top soil to form and we’re currently losing around 30 football pitches of fertile soil every minute globally. This has meant that, over the last 40 years, almost a third of the world’s arable soils have been lost to erosion or pollution.

Organic farming seeks to put health back into the soil naturally, through composting and practices such as crop rotation with legumes to fix nitrogen without the need for synthetic fertilisers.

Find out more about our approach to organic food and agriculture and enter our Organic September competition to win an organic weekend away, plus other great organic prizes.

 

 

Organic September

Organic September is an annual campaign led by the Soil Association. It encourages people to make small changes to their purchasing habits and aims to raise awareness of the benefits of an organic farming system for the environment, producer and everyday shopper.

*All stats, unless otherwise credited, from the Soil Association

 

What do you think of "Five reasons to #chooseorganic"

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Brian Shepherd 3 months ago

Interesting and informative

Lucy sparks 3 months ago

Great! I also want to add that organic farming is not know better for the planet,but better for us. With the vast majority of the population being deficient in vital vitamins and minerals, it’s crucial that we concentrate on fertile soils! When I explain to people that wheat has to fortified,for instance,they are usually shocked!! This is what the Victorians did!

Reply to Lucy sparks
Lucy sparks 3 months ago

That was meant to say,not only is organic farming better for the planet!!

Pete 3 months ago

One very large and crucial omission from this artical is that although the organice standards in this country are very stringent, they are far more lax in other countries, to the point where it is often an excuse for farmers to charge more, with little in the way of any organic practices (Spain is a good example). So a lot of foods labelled ‘organic’ from abroad simply aren’t!
Given that it’s virtually impossible to go the supermarket and only buy British food, by extension that basically means that it’s virtually impossible to buy only truly organic food.

Phil 3 months ago

I thought that Organic farming, whilst good on a small scale, will never be able to sustain the worlds dietary needs. Basically to produce the same amount of food, an organic farm needs more land than a non-organic one. Are we prepared to chop down even more rainforests to make way for organic bananas, rather than non-organic ones? Obviously if the world’s population stays constant or decreases, it wouldn’t be a problem, but as we all know it’s increasing hugely. Organic simply won’t be able to feed the unborn billions of our future. Also non-organic farming practices like the good old broiler chicken arguably are greener because the chicken matures quicker & thus uses less resources over the course of its lifetime before going to market. Similar arguments concerning factory farming & intensification may mean that less green house gases are produced. Is genetically modified food really the nightmare that we are given to believe? Or might GM plants be resistant to pests that would otherwise need pesticides? Is GM really so different from what we’ve been doing for millennia with selective plant breeding? Anyway, despite what you might think I am actually pro Organic. But these thoughts trouble me…. Please discuss & put me straight.

Reply to Phil
Ian Plewis 3 months ago

These are good points and I do wish Triodos could be a little more flexible in its attitudes to what is meant by ‘organic’ and how this fits in with the broader idea of what is ‘sustainable’. To give a couple of examples: GM potatoes are being developed that are resistant to blight (by introducing genes from ‘wild’ varieties). This would mean that there would be no need to spray with copper sulphate as a fungicide, something that organic growers are allowed to do but which might not be sustainable. And, while it is true that glyphosate use on cereals in GB has increased, other, arguably more dangerous herbicides are now used much more sparingly so that the overall herbicide burden is probably declining.

Reply to Ian Plewis
Alex 2 months ago

read the ‘Cheap food may be costing us the earth’ article and report below for more information about why organic vegetables use fewer resources (once everything is taken into account), NOT more

Reply to Alex
Ian Plewis 2 months ago

Thanks Alex. You will see from my response to that paper that I think the evidence presented in the report that the article is based on is very weak.