- Are we facing another Silent Spring?
- Organic farming improves pollination success in strawberries
- Organic wine – flavourful, healthful, ethical
- Paediatricians against pesticides – and about time too!
- Five a day without pesticides
- Why I Love Organic campaign
- Pesticide Action Network, UK
- UK Pesticides Campaign
- Assessing organic food quality: Is it better for you?, by Shane Heaton
- Organic Farms Make Healthy Plants Make Healthy People, Institute of Science in Society
- USDA, National Organic Program
Organic – so much more than a lifestyle choice
NYR Natural News
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Animal welfare is at the heart of organic systems, rigorously protecting all aspects of animal wellbeing.
Organic animals are free to pursue natural behaviour because they have plenty of outside space to thrive and grow. They are also not routinely dosed with antibiotics, residues of which can end up in the human food chain. Happier, unstressed animals are naturally healthier and more disease-resistant.
Many shoppers do not realise that organic products are also free range. And of course, organic beauty care products are never tested on animals.
Organic farming relies on wildlife to help control natural pests. Wide field margins and hedgerows allow bugs, birds and bees to flourish.
They are also not sprayed away by the fertilisers, chemicals and pesticides routinely used on non-organic farms.
The loss of bee colonies is a good example of the harm that comes from widespread pesticide spraying. Colony Collapse Disorder, which is killing our bees, is widely believed to be related to industrial farming practices, from direct contamination by pesticides such as neonicotinoids, to food and habitat loss from herbicides and monoculture crops. Research shows up to 50% greater plant, insect and bird life on organic farms.
Wildlife isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ it is part of a complex ecosystem – and we’re not just talking bugs. The peregrine falcon and otter, both top of the British food-chain species, were devastated by use of agricultural organophosphate use from the 1950s. Only the banning of these chemicals and careful land management has helped these beautiful creatures survive and flourish.
GM & nano free – guaranteed
Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are banned under organic standards, together with nano-particles.
Shoppers wanting to avoid GM products may be surprised to know that over a million tonnes of GM crops are imported in the UK each year to feed non-organic livestock, which in turn supply our supermarkets with pork, bacon, milk, cheese and other dairy products.
Nano-particles are already used in a wide range of products – from cosmetics to kitchenware to clothing, you may not even know you are using them!
How to tell if it’s organic
For organic foods, it is very simple. The basic standard is set by law, so nothing can be labelled or marketed as ‘organic’ unless it really is. If a product is certified an organic certification body, for example the Soil Association in the UK, or the USDA in the US, it is a guarantee of its organic status.
The Soil Association standard guarantees: certified organic ingredients; no GMOs or nano-particles; wild-harvested plants sustainably collected from uncontaminated land; only ingredients approved by the Soil Association committee for safety and biodegradability; clear and honest labelling; minimal processing.
For beauty care, unlike food products, there are no legal regulations controlling the use of the word ‘organic’. So you may have to look harder at the label to see what percentage of the finished product is actually organic.
Even good quality organic beauty care products may not be 100% organic because certain non-agricultural ingredients, such as water or salt or clay, cannot be certified organic. Therefore a lotion, which is a mixture of water and oil, will never contain 100% organic ingredients. Neither will a shampoo, which also has a large percentage of water.
The key in such cases is to look for products that have the highest possible percentage of organic ingredients
Our organic commitment
When we say we are committed to organic we mean it. Neal’s Yard Remedies has been researching, developing and making organic products since 1981.
Our eco-factory in Dorset houses our laboratory, manufacturing and filling units as well as offices, kitchen and staff restaurant. It also has five hectares of land where we have a damask rose field, physic garden, numerous herb beds, orchard, vegetable garden and wildlife meadow – all managed under organic principles.
We also grow herbs at Sheepdrove Organic Farm in Berkshire, and collect wild growing herbs from organic farmland around our tincture unit on the Blackmore Vale, in Dorset.
Not all the plant ingredients we use can be grown locally, so we also buy organic, and Fairtrade, ingredients from around the world, including Madagascan ylang ylang, South African rooibos, New Zealand beeswax and fair trade cocoa butter from the Dominican Republic.
By choosing certified organic ingredients, we have the independent guarantee that growers and processors have undergone annual audits to ensure they comply with the strictest of environmental, ecological and sustainable criteria.