What is the future for organic farming?
There are Organic Action plans for England, Wales and Scotland and a European Organic Action Plan has just been published. They set out targets for increasing organic production and encouraging more consumer interest in organic food. With healthy eating becoming more of a feature of the government's agenda, the provision of organic food in schools and hospitals is increasing. Some bigger food companies and supermarkets are investing in new organic products as in some areas, demand for organic food still out-strips supply, particularly in proportion to the amount of organic imports we still rely upon.
How can I find out more about organic food and farming and be part of the organic future?
At organic food festivals, healthy food is celebrated – food that is good both for people and for the earth. We believe in a sustainable way of producing and harvesting food. However, many people are still unsure of exactly what constitutes as organic food.
The word organic, when used about food has a particular legal meaning, which implies that it has been produced and processed abiding by certain rules. These rules are known as standards and can be legally enforced under European Regulations. These apply both here in this country and throughout the continent. These standards must be noted for any organic foods shipped from outside Europe too. They cover every step of organic food production, from the farm, factory or shop.
Because the word organic can be legally enforced, its use on the label of any food you purchase offers a legal definition. There should also be a reference on the packaging to the certification body that has inspected the organic farm or producer. The most frequent certification body is The Soil Association. Its symbol appears on several organic products in the UK.
Organic food derives from an agricultural system where farmers and producers have opted to produce high-quality food in an environmentally sustainable manner. They seek to promote the health and well-being of soil, plants, animals, people and the planet we inhabit. More and more people want to eat organic food because of the concerns they have about non-organic production.