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Get The Facts

  • What is organic?
    Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved. Definition of Organic Agriculture, IFOAM – Organics International
  • What is organic food?
    Organic is a system of farming and food production. Organic farmers aim to produce high-quality food, using methods that benefit our whole food system, from people to planet, plant health to animal welfare.
  • What crops are used in rotation to convert to organic?
    An example 6 year rotation with sheep ​ Year 1. Ley Year 2. Ley Year 3. Winter Milling Wheat Year 4. Spring Milling Oats Year 5. Winter Beans Year 6. Spring Malting Barley
  • How long does it take to convert a field to organic?
    The conversion period is normally 24 months from the last use of an agrochemical to sowing an organic crop. Perennial crops can be sold as organic after the plant has been through 36 months of conversion as standard.
  • What is agroecological farming?
    Agroecology is sustainable farming that works with nature. It is the application of ecological concepts and principles in farming. Agroecology promotes farming practices that mitigate climate change, work with wildlife and put farmers and communities in the driving seat.
  • What is agroforestry?
    Agroforestry means combining agriculture and trees. Planting trees on farms can give farmers healthier soil and higher yields. Trees also provide vital habitats for wildlife. They help farmers by housing natural predators to many common crop pests, thus reducing the need for pesticides.
  • What are Neonicotinoids?
    Neonicotinoids work as an insecticide by blocking specific neural pathways in insects’ central nervous systems, causing disorientation, inability to feed and death. They now affect our soils, rivers, wild plants have take them up and become toxic. Bees can be exposed in small doses so they don't die but affects their ability to survive.
  • What are pesticides?
    ‘Pesticides’ are chemicals designed to kill insects and other pests e.g. insecticides, fungal diseases (fungicides) and weeds (herbicides). The vast majority are used in farming to grow our food, but they are also used in our parks, schools and even our own gardens. On farms they are being used on a wide scale. Farmers have become reliant on them and they’ve found their way into our food, our soils, our rivers and our wildlife. Recent studies on global insect declines and the biodiversity crisis name direct and indirect impacts of pesticides as key drivers.
  • How do pesticides effect the environment?
    "Pesticides are toxic chemicals designed to be deliberately released into the environment. Although each pesticide is meant to kill a certain pest, they easily contaminate the air, ground, and water when they runoff from fields. ​ Pesticide Action Network UK
  • What is glyphosate?
    Glyphosate is a weed killer that is used in products including Roundup. And whilst the general public use it on their gardens, farmers and public bodies use it on a far larger scale. Many farmers use glyphosate to aid in killing weeds right before crops start to grow in Spring. Alarmingly they are used right before harvesting. Glyphosate residue appears in many of our food items such as bread. ​ Soil Association
  • Is glyphosate dangerous to humans
    Concerns about the dangers of glyphosate to human health have been around for years. And in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organisation, concluded that glyphosate products have the potential to cause cancer. Since then concern has mounted that glyphosate based weedkillers may not be safe for the workers who use them or even at the levels in our food. Chemical companies, the food industry and safety regulators claim glyphosate pose no danger to the British public. However, safety regulators often refer to unpublished industry studies that aren't publicly available and have never passed peer review or been exposed to expert critique. They also mainly look at glyphosate on its own. In the real world, glyphosate is always mixed with other chemicals to make sure the glyphosate sticks to and penetrates the plants it’s sprayed on. Studies, like those examined by the IARC, looked at what farmers are using, and how these have the potential to harm our health even at the low doses found in our food. In recent years, these studies, along with those which have linked glyphosate with certain forms of cancer in workers, have raised concern that glyphosate-based weed killers may not be safe after-all. Soil Association
  • Can fish be organic?
    No, products from the hunting and fishing of wild animals are not considered as organic production and cannot bear the EU logo.
  • Can wild animals be classed as organic?
    No, products from the hunting and fishing of wild animals are not considered as organic production and cannot bear the EU logo.
  • What is a COC?
    It stands for 'Chain Of Custody', in legal contexts, is the chronological documentation or paper trail that records the sequence of custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of materials, including physical or electronic evidence. For example a product using wood or paper, to be able to say that the source of the material is traceable and from a sustainable source, they will need Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) or Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and a Chain of Custody certification.
  • Soil Association 'Organic Food Served Here' what do the stars mean?
    The higher the spend on organic vs non-organic, the more stars the business will receive: ​ 5 stars: 95 - 100% organic spend 4 stars: 75- 95% organic spend 3 stars: 50 - 75% organic spend 2 stars: 25 - 50% organic spend 1 star: 15 - 25% organic spend
  • What are biodynamics?
    Biodynamics is one of the world's oldest regenerative agricultural systems. Scientists are discovering that biodynamics is the most effective organic system for carbon storage to tackle climate change and the best for soil restoration to heal our planet.
  • What is organic farming?
    Organic farming is a system – governed by legal standards, and regularly and independently inspected – that produces food in ways that benefit people, animals, wildlife, society and the natural world. No other defined system of farming and food production comes close to delivering such a breadth of benefits. With attitudes shifting towards more planet- centric thinking.
  • What is Organic September?
    Organic September is a campaign organised by the Soil Association In the face of climate change, diet related ill-health and widespread decline in wildlife, the need to change our food systems has never been greater. Organic September is a month-long campaign to raise awareness of the many benefits of organic food and farming, which include: Supporting biodiversity and wildlife Helping to combat climate change The highest standards of animal welfare Reduced exposure to pesticides Food as it should be, and food you can trust
  • To be classed as 'Organic' % of ingredients needs to be organic?
    Growers, processors and importers can only label pre-packed foods ‘organic’ if at least 95% of the ingredients of agricultural origin are organic.
  • What does ‘UK Agriculture’ mean on a label?
    A statement of agricultural origin must be included on all organic labels. ‘UK Agriculture’ – where 98% of the ingredients are produced in the UK. ‘UK or non-UK Agriculture’ – where the product is produced with ingredients grown in and outside the UK. ‘Non-UK Agriculture’ – where 98% of the ingredients are produced outside the UK More specific references can be made if 98% of ingredients are grown in a specific area. For example, milk from Northern Ireland (NI) can be labelled as ‘Northern Irish Agriculture’, or Welsh lamb can be labelled as ‘Welsh Agriculture’.
  • Why can you see organic ingredients in non-organic products?
    Producers are allowed to list ingredients in non-organic food products as organic providing they meet GB or EU organic standards. For example, a label can say ‘organic sugar’ on a food package that contains non-organic ingredients.
  • Who are the Non Food Certification Company (NFCC)?
    The Non Food Certification Company (NFCC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Organic Food Federation (one of the oldest established organic certification bodies in the UK). NFCC developed standards in 2003 to provide certification to processors of personal care products which are not currently covered by organic regulations. The objectives of NFCC are to ensure that only organically certified and wild plant materials are used in the processed products we certify. Their standards define the rules of organic production and criteria for wild designation of plant materials.
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