September is the UK’s National Organic Month. Founded in the early 1900s in response to the burgeoning usage of synthetic fertilisers, NOM aims to raise awareness of organic farming and production techniques. In addition, National Organic Month seeks to inform the public about how sustainable agriculture is better for the environment. Produce grown organically has not been exposed to synthetic fertilisers, growth stimulants, pesticides, or antibiotics.
A growing market, it’s expected that the organic movement will have increased by 11% by the end of the decade. This makes September the perfect month to try out getting involved in organic farming and eating. Here are the reasons why you should join the organic movement.
There are myriad reasons why organic produce is important.
- Good for the environment:
- By using natural products which replenish the soil rather than drain it, organic farming enables sustainability.
- Nitrogen fertilisers are used in industrial farming industries, created by chemical processes involving petroleum, and organic farming is around 30% more energy efficient as a result of avoiding these kinds of harmful practices.
- Not only does organic farming encourage soil to build up carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere, but it has zero nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is 300 times more destructive as a greenhouse gas than CO2.
- Good for your health:
- Organically grown foods lack pesticide residue, and making the switch can reduce the level of carcinogens in your body by up to 70%. Organic food is naturally GMO-free and non-toxic.
- Research suggests that organic food contains more micronutrients, such as Vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.
- With no antibiotics used in the farming process, the more people eating organically means less spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- Good for animals:
- Organic farmers must adhere to strict requirements as to the treatment of livestock. Year-round access to the outdoors, with ample space for exercise, as well as adequate shelter, are all tenets of rearing animals organically. Organic methods prohibit the use of battery farming.
- Their diet cannot contain genetically modified crops nor can they eat food that has been treated with pesticides or synthetic fertilisers.
- Antibiotics must only be given in rare cases. Organic livestock are happier and healthier.
Grow Your Own Food
Growing your own food is becoming increasingly popular, as it encourages healthy living, sustainability, and self-reliance. Growing organic food, though there may be extra steps, is strides more fulfilling.
How do you grow organic food at home?
- Prepare your soil:
- Soil must be fertile for organic growth to occur. Feed the soil with compost (preferably homemade), rotting leaves, and rotting manure. This replenishes the amount of nutrients and microbes in the ground.
- You can also follow the ‘no dig’ method, which means covering the topsoil with organic matter to prevent weed growth and minimise soil disturbance.
- Choose the best produce:
- Decide whether you’re looking to grow fruit, veg, or a healthy mix.
- For planting organic food in September, blackberries, spinach, onions, and tomatoes are good choices.
- Though you obviously won’t see the results this month, setting your plans in motion is a great way to celebrate National Organic Month.
- How to grow organic food:
- Once planted, keep an eye on your crops for signs of disease or pests.
- Water the roots, not the foliage, to conserve water and encourage growth. The home organic movement is centred around the health of your entire garden.
- Without the use of pesticides or other harmful chemicals, it’s important to allow biodiversity to keep your garden ecosystem clean and happy.
- Encourage biodiversity:
- Certain crops aid other crops in their growth. This is what we mean by biodiversity.
- Basil keeps certain flies away from tomatoes.
- Mint and sage repel slugs from cabbage and lettuce.
- You don’t need harmful pesticides to keep your organic garden safe, you just need a few more seeds.
Regrow Your Own Food
Whilst waiting for your garden to burst into organic life, you’ll still have to go shopping for fruit and veg. However, by simply regrowing your own food, you can begin further cutting down on the store buying.
Regrowing, which works best with organic produce, involves placing kitchen scraps into water or soil. You’re letting the vegetables replenish themselves.
How do you regrow food? Which kinds of food waste can you regrow?
- Onions: place root in moist soil and leave the new sprouts attached. Cut any leaves to promote growth. Wait around 5 months until harvesting.
- Root vegetables: set tops in a tray of shallow water. Leaves can be harvested for salads, or the tops can be planted in soil for full regrowth.
- Mushrooms: place stem in a soil-compost mix, exposing only the tip. Growth should happen quickly, so repeat at will.
- Celery: set base in water and leave for a few days, continually cutting off the root to grow more.
- Sweet potatoes: cut roots from a store bought sweet potato and suspend them in water using toothpicks, or plant in soil.
Any vegetable which grows sprouts or roots is suitable for regrowing efforts. Flower plants, such as broccoli, are sold as heads. This means that the part of the plant which is capable of regrowth has been removed.
Regrowing is a fun, self-reliant, and sustainable way to go organic. It enables you to save money, save the planet, and go organic all at once.
Indulge Yourself with Ripe
Going organic for September doesn’t mean living off-grid. With Ripe, you can get fresh and organic produce delivered straight to you. Whether you want to eat organically at home, or evangelise to everyone at work, a Ripe gift box or office box is fully customisable. You might even be able to order a handwritten card with your purchase!
At Ripe, we believe in the power of healthy eating to let you excel. We’re a London-wide delivery service of fresh local produce including office fruit deliveries and gift baskets, passionately shipping seasonal fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks, and even dairy and non-dairy milks to homes and workplaces all over the city.
We’re committed to high standards of produce and delivery. We can take some of the confusion away from going organic by getting it all straight to your door.
For more information, visit our shop page to start eating and living better.