Next month marks the start of Organic September; a month-long celebration of all things organic, helping people to find, try and buy organic food & drink and highlighting the farmers and business that produce it. Organic means you’ll always know what’s in your food – each step of organic food production is independently checked and certified by a body like the Soil Association. Organic also means fewer pesticides, no artificial colours & preservatives, always free range, no routine use of antibiotics and no GM ingredients.
Soil Association has teamed up with top chefs and asked them why they choose Organic to encourage other chefs to make one small change. Switching to just one organic item can really help contribute to changing our food system for the better!
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, River Cottage
‘There are two main reasons why we choose organic produce here at River Cottage. The first one undoubtedly is the sheer quality of it, the sheer quality of organic fruits, vegetables and meat. It just tastes better. An organic carrot does really taste better than a mass-produced conventionally-farmed one. The second reason of course is sustainability. We want to be part of a farming system that looks after the soil and that doesn’t deplete its goodness which is so important to producing great fruits and vegetables. We don’t want to top the soil up with artificial chemicals that will find their way into our produce. In the end, we want all our guests here to taste the difference and know that they are making a difference.’
Guy Watson, Riverford
‘I admit it; I farm organically largely because it just feels right. Is that an admission of weakness? I have a science degree, my tractors use GPS, and I wholeheartedly embrace the IT revolution. But I still find that what feels right is a good aid to making good decisions. Some condemn being guided by emotion as weak-minded, muddled thinking – which it sometimes is. But over the 30 years since I started farming organically, much of what felt wrong in farming has turned out to be wrong for very tangible, logical and scientific reasons.’
Rosie Birkett, Chef and Author of ‘A lot on her plate’
‘Organic farming is focused on preserving and promoting the health of the soil, which produces healthier, more nourishing food but also promotes biodiversity by not spraying everything with damaging chemicals and pumping antibiotics into the water supply. It’s a no-brainer for me because I want my ingredients to be produced in a sustainable and natural way because they taste better, but also because they’ve been farmed in a way that’s having a positive impact on the world around us, rather than a detrimental one.’
Tom Hunt, Eco Chef
‘Organic agriculture is vital for preserving our wildlife, soil and ecology. The preservation of organic land is a preservation of life itself. We must eat and therefore we must farm, but in the most responsible way possible. The more people eating organic, the more organic land will be kept and the more organic farmers will be kept in business. Something very important for all our futures.’
Anna Jones, Chef Stylist & Writer
‘For me it’s very simple, with every bite of food we eat, we are voting, not only for how we want to feel, but how we want the world around us to be. I care a huge amount about the food I eat – how it tastes, how nourishing it is, and how it is produced, and eating organic food is at the centre of that for me and my family.’
The Soil Association has also recently launched its own rating system for restaurants to help guide consumer choices. The ‘Organic Served Here‘ scheme is currently being rolled out where restaurants are given stars.
Star ratings works as follows:
- Five stars: 95 – 100% organic spend
- Four stars: 75- 95% organic spend
- Three stars: 50 – 75% organic spend
- Two stars: 25 – 50% organic spend
- One star: 15 – 25% organic spend
As awareness and consumers look to be as ethical as possible, especially during ‘Organic September’, we look forward to the scheme being more widely adopted across the country.
Restaurants looking to be involved in Organic September should visit: www.soilassociation.org/organicservedhere