Food Sustainability

Organic Food

What is food sustainability?

Food choices have a big impact on our carbon footprint. The production, packaging and transportation of food all result in greenhouse gas emissions. Food sustainability should be produced, processed and traded in ways that:

  • Contribute to thriving local economies and sustainable livelihoods – both in the UK and, in the case of imported products, in producer countries;
  • Protect the diversity of both plants and animals (and the welfare of farmed and wild species), and avoid damaging natural resources and contributing to climate change;
  • Provide social benefits, such as good quality food, safe and healthy products, and educational opportunities.

What can you do?
1. Have a meat free day each week
2. Purchase fresh, local and seasonal foods
3. Minimise your consumption of processed foods
4. Buy organic and sustainably harvested foods
5. Buy Fair Trade coffee and tea

What is organic food?

Modern farming often involves using particular chemical substances to produce food. These substances are added to the soil in which the plants are grown, or are sprayed directly onto the plants. Alternatively, chemicals might be added to the food of the animals, bred and raised for their meat, such as cows, pigs or chickens.
Chemical substances are used for different reasons, including pest control, to make the plants grow faster or larger, or to produce foods that all have a similar, neat, attractive appearance. For examples, zucchinis that are uniform in size, shape and shade of colour can be grown in this way.

The two main chemicals substances used in farming are:
  • pesticides - any substance that is used to kill pests
  • fertilizers - a substance used to make the soil more fertile, which means crops will grow faster or more abundantly in the soil

Organic food is food that has been produced without the use of these chemical substances.

Benifits of organic food

Organic foods are considered by many people to be healthier than non-organic foods because there are no chemicals used to produce them. Pesticides and fertilizers contain strong, often poisonous chemicals and even after fruits and vegetables have been thoroughly washed, traced of these substances can remain.

The lack of harsh chemicals uses also means that organic food is grown in a more natural way than many non-organic foods: there is no artificial speeding of the ripening process, for example, or growing of particular fruits or vegetables in less-than-ideal climates. This results in food that often tastes better than non-organic foods.