Over the past few years, we consumers have become well-versed in the implications our food buying habits have on the wider world. From plastic packaging to fairtrade, we’re so much more aware than we used to be.
If we buy organic food it may be for many reasons, including for the 'good of the planet', but what exactly is it about organic that makes it so environmentally friendly?
Well, for one organic farming is good for wildlife. Studies have shown that there is between 40% and 50% more wildlife on organic farmlands than non-organic. This biodiversity means nature is in balance and able to weather storms and pests without needing our help.
Organic is also a great way to reduce pollution. Organic farming regulations are very strict about the use of manufactured chemical fertilisers and pesticides. It’s easy to demonise ‘chemicals’ and clearly not all are harmful, but some require a lot of energy and resources to manufacture which causes pollution. For the organic farmer, there are natural fertilisers (like manure and nitrogen-fixing plants) and other forms of pest control (like encouraging natural predators and physical barriers), which are less polluting and often cheaper as well. Research suggests that if all UK farming was organic, pesticide use would drop by a whopping 98%!
Organic farming helps future proof our land and soil. The same study that noted the biodiversity benefits of organic also measured the resilience of the soil to flooding and drought. They found that organic farmland had less soil erosion and better water retention than non-organic land – perfect for withstanding unpredictable weather.