What’s the Big Deal with Shopping Organic?
Organic products are better for you, and better for the earth. Are you curious about all the reasons organic is better? September is Australian Organic Awareness Month. We’re celebrating by breaking down some of the basics about organics, and supporting you in shopping for them.
What Does ‘Shop Organic’ Mean?
There’s a good chance you have an idea of what ‘organic’ means. The term organic stretches beyond food and into products such as skin care and home cleaning products. Just to keep things clear and simple, here are the main characteristics of an organic product.
Grown without harmful inputs
An organic product only contains ingredients that involve no use of toxic or persistent pesticides or synthetic nitrogen fertilisers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation. Essentially, organic ingredients are much closer to nature than the alternatives.
Processed without artificial ingredients or synthetic preservatives
Organic products involve minimal processing, with no artificial ingredients or synthetic preservatives. The use of GMOs is prohibited and organic ingredients are not commingled or contaminated with non-organic materials. Again, they’re as natural as possible.
To Shop Organic means to buy products made with ingredients and processing that fit these criteria.
Why Choose Organic?
One of the big reasons many customers choose organic products is to avoid the chemicals that non-organic products often contain. From pesticides to antibiotics and hormones, customers looking to reduce exposure to potentially harmful inputs choose organic to avoid these.
What’s more, organic products are grown using holistic farming methods. What this means is that importance is placed on the health of the soil, and as a result the soil is a healthy part of the growing process. Promoting healthy soil involves responsible actions like crop rotation (where the soil is not used for the same crop after it’s been harvested), animal interaction (where chickens, cows or other animals are brought in to help fertilise the soil) and insect promotion (where crops that attract beneficial insects are planted).
Organic farmers use natural forms of pest control, such as creating inviting environments for birds and beneficial insects. Weeds are controlled using mulching, tilling, hand weeding and crop rotation - to avoid the use of chemicals.
Organic foods are also fresher when you purchase them, because they lack the synthetics of other products and therefore rot and decay quicker. So they contain greater nutrient levels.
As you might imagine, organic farming is better for the environment. These methods use less energy, increase soil fertility, reduce soil erosion, conserve water, and reduce pollution. Additionally, the distance traveled between farm and reseller is often significantly shorter, due to the rate of decay of the food, so the carbon footprint is smaller.
Having said all of this, you can understand why organic products are sometimes more expensive than their non-organic counterparts. But given all these benefits, why not try introducing some organic alternatives to your shopping list? After all, the more dollars we send to the organic industry, the stronger our voice in voting for the kinds of products we want to see more of and it's preventative medicine for you and your family.
How to find organic products
Unfortunately in Australia there is no enforced domestic standard for the word “organic”. A product with as little as 2% organic ingredients can claim to be ‘organic’ on its packaging! This leads to confusion and frustration for shoppers.
Fortunately we do have Australian Organic Limited (AOL), the leading organisation dealing with Government and Industry and protecting the integrity of the certified industry. Their “Bud” logo is the leading organic certification, indicating farmers and processors are producing in accord with AOL standards. You can identify certified products by the Bud logo, below:
September is Australian Organic Awareness Month (AOAM), so it’s a great time to learn more about organic products and try some new things.
At Santos Organics, you can use our organic product filter to shop online, or visit our stores to find the best range of certified organic products.
There are many benefits of buying organic products, reaching beyond the reduction of pesticides, hormones and genetic modifications in our lives. Our friendly staff are always here to answer your questions. Why not use Australian Organic Awareness Month this September to try an organic alternative or two!
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