September is a wonderful month. It is a time to reflect on the summer behind us, to watch the colours of autumn slowly emerge in the hedgerows and woodlands, and to enjoy the last bright days as the swallows mass and dance in preparation for the migratory journey ahead of them.
For us at the Real Food Store, September is special in another way. It marks the time when, for four weeks each year, we take part in the Soil Association’s campaign to celebrate organic produce and showcase why it holds the key to our planet’s future. This year we would love as many of you as possible to join us as we celebrate Organic September 2020.
Organic Real Food
We founded the Real Food Store in Exeter a decade ago around three core principles: local, sustainable and affordable. Our mission was to create a viable alternative to supermarkets where people could find quality, sustainable produce from local suppliers.
A purchase is more than a transaction: it is an investment in a supply chain, and a financial endorsement of the values and principles involved in the process of production. It is vital to us that everything we sell in the Real Food Store is produced in a planet-friendly, sustainable way. That is why almost every product we sell is certified organic.
In a world of greenwashing and empty slogans, it is important to hold onto the fact that ‘organic’ is not simply a marketing buzzword. It describes an entire set of principles and values underpinning healthy, sustainable farming practices. I’ll outline below a few very simple reasons why we at the Real Food Store fundamentally support organic agriculture.
Organic is health
Health for the planet, health for workers and health for consumers. The heavy use of pesticides and other chemicals in intensive agriculture cause harm at every stage of production. Moreover, a report commissioned by the Soil Association has found that if Europe’s farmland all followed organic principles, agricultural emissions could drop by 40-50% by 2050.
Organic is care
Organic agriculture cares for nature, for ecosystems and for animals. Organic farming has the highest animal welfare standards of any international farming system. Organically farmed animals are happier, healthier and more free to express their natural behaviour.
Organic is ecology
According to the Soil Association, plant, insect and bird life is on average 50% more abundant on organic farms, and there are around 75% more wild bees on organic farms. Organic agriculture encourages species-rich environments, healthier soil and higher levels of carbon sequestration than intensive alternatives.
Organic is fair
Organic agriculture minimises workers’ exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, and ensures that we and future generations have a healthy, thriving planet to live on.
Our planet, our choice
It is clear that we as a society have a long way to go to ensure that our food is produced in a way that is as kind to the planet as possible. What we choose to buy and eat determines to a huge extent our impact on the planet we call home. At the Real Food Store, we believe that choosing organic is a simple decision with dramatic and far-reaching benefits for the planet and the livelihood of future generations.
So, this Organic September join us as we make the case for organic, and help to make sure that the food we eat doesn’t cost the earth.
You can find a whole range of organic produce, much of it from local suppliers, in the Real Food Store. Find us next to Central Station on Queen Street, Exeter, from 09.00 to 17.00 Monday to Saturday.
Chair, Real Food Exeter