Why we root for organic
Now that Organic September is in full swing, what better opportunity is there to talk about all things organic?
First thing’s first - what exactly is organic all about? As the Soil Association perfectly summarises: “Organic farming means working with nature, not against it.” We’re all about collaborating with nature to do better for people, the planet and animals, so organic seems like a natural fit for us! Because of this, we only source organic legumes for our delicious tempeh products.
Is organic really that important? Let’s start by taking a little look at non-organic farming. Non-organic farming is no stranger to pesticides that can pollute nature, water and make their way into our food chain. But aren’t pesticides needed to get rid of unwelcome pests? The issue is that many pesticides destroy much more than just the target pest - they can wreak havoc on the environment and harm other wildlife through direct poisoning, contaminated water courses or disrupted ecosystems.
Organic farming, in turn, means lower level of pesticides (and no synthetic or petroleum-based pesticides), no manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers. Additionally, organic means more environmentally sustainable land management, improved soil formation and structure, and more wildlife. Instead of petroleum-based pesticides and other chemical inputs, organic farming relies on, for instance, natural fertilisers from plants, crop rotation and selection of crop varieties with a natural resistance to particular pests and diseases. Sounds way better than disrupted ecosystems, don’t you think?
As the use of GMOs is not permitted during any stage of organic food production, processing or handling, organic certification is also a signal that no GMOs have intentionally been used in the production and processing of the product. Can we get a whoop, whoop?! And the joy doesn’t end here - organic farming methods also play an important role in soil erosion control. Fun fact: Healthy soils are a major store of carbon containing up to five times more carbon than forests. Taking into consideration the current state of climate affairs, it’s safe to say we better keep those soils in top form. In other words, since organic farming helps to sequester carbon in the soil, it also helps mitigate global warming. We like the sound of that!
To summarise why we root for organic farms:
No petroleum-based pesticides, manufactured herbicides or artificial fertilisers
Higher biodiversity so more bees, birds and butterflies - now, that’s music to our ears.
Healthier soils and higher water quality
Less greenhouse gases - in this case less is definitely more…
However, it’s important that we also talk about possible pitfalls of organic agriculture. In general, organic farming yields approximately 19-25% less product. Once you take into consideration the efficiency differences between organic and non-organic farming, and study the environmental performance per quantity produced, the benefits of organic farming becomes less clear. How so? Since lower yields per hectare may result in more land-clearing, organic farms may not perform better than non-organic farms in terms of some variables (e.g. greenhouse gas emissions). Nevertheless, as an article in The Conversation states “A more useful question is whether we should continue to eat organic food and expand investment in organic farming. Here the answer is a definitive yes. Organic agriculture shows significant promises in many areas. We would be foolish not to consider it an important tool in developing more sustainable global agriculture.” The article aptly points out that for over 50 years organic farms have provided non-organic farms with examples of other ways to farm. Moreover, organic farms have functioned as ‘guinea pigs’ for different, more natural management practices, such as diversified crop rotation, composting and conservation tillage. So, we continue to stand with organic!
Also, we don’t know about you but to us synthetic and petroleum-based pesticides don’t sound too appetising or wholesome… We’d rather enjoy our tempeh soaked in tasty sauces please! So, happy Organic September y’all!