More than ever before, Australian families are choosing to eat organic. For most, this is a matter of health – they want to avoid the pesticides and additives used in conventional farming. For some, it’s also about living a more sustainable and ethical life. And then there are those that just like how organic food tastes!
Whatever your reason, organic is always a great choice. But do you know what makes something organic? Or what to look for when picking organic products?
What makes something Organic?
Organic refers to how produce is grown and farmed. It’s a much more natural approach than modern conventional farming methods and places greater focus on protecting the quality of farming land. This often means compromising on yields in the short term to increase the long-term sustainability of farming activities.
Conventional farms focus on creating large volumes of a few types of produce. They maximise profitability by limiting what grows on the land and using chemicals and pesticides to increase outputs. This usually means bigger crops in the short term but can lead to significant environmental issues, like reduced soil quality and land and water contamination.
By contrast, organic farming takes a more sustainable approach, balancing production against the environmental impact. Practices like crop rotation and natural fertilisation methods (manure, compost, etc.) are used to increase yields without compromising the ongoing viability of the land. While this does generally result in lower outputs, it also means minimal chemical and pesticide residues and a much healthier farm environment.
Is organic food worth the extra cost?
The one thing that most people know about organic food is that it tends to cost more. This is because a greater level of care and consideration is put into its production. However, it does raise the question – is it worth it?
To us, the answer is an unequivocal YES!
Organic food is better for you. It has higher levels of important nutrients and minerals, like vitamin C, magnesium, and iron. Eating organic will also limit your exposure to chemicals, genetically modified ingredients, and artificial additives.
Organic food also just tastes better. There are no chemicals to dull the flavour or ruin the texture. It’s delicious and nutritious, just as nature intended!
And most importantly, organic food is better for the planet. It’s grown in a healthy, biodiverse environment, with minimal unnatural intervention. As such, buying organic means supporting sustainable methods and will help keep farming land healthy and productive for years to come. Buying organic meat, organic chicken, free-range organic eggs, and organic milk and cheese means supporting farming practice that are kinder to animals.
What should I look for when shopping organic?
In Australia, the use of the term ‘organic’ is not regulated. This means that products can be labelled as organic, regardless of the farming method used.
With this in mind, you need to look for products labelled ‘certified organic’. This means they meet the organic production standards set out by the Australian government.
For more information on organic food and farming, including the seven government accredited certifying organisations, check out our About Organic Food page.