You may have heard about “going organic” before. This can refer to using organic foods, drinks and even other non consumable items like beauty products or clothing.
But what does organic actually mean? Read on to find out how you can try going organic and why a barbecue may be the perfect time to do it…
Every September, a campaign runs that calls for people to try going organic, or to incorporate more organic friendly decisions in their everyday life. That campaign is Organic September (or known by the hashtag #OrganicSeptember) and aims to restore the balance to nature, the climate and our health.
The month long campaign was founded by The Soil Association, which is the UK’s leading food and farming charity as well as organic certification body. Originally known as Organic Harvest, the campaign began in 1994 and was renamed to Organic September in 2012.
You can read more about The Soil Association’s mission straight from their website here, you can also sign up for emails about this year’s and future Organic Septembers.
There’s definitely still time in September to have an organic barbecue, but if you find it getting chilly, a fire pit or patio heater will keep you warm enough to cook all year round.
So Why Organic?
Growing food the organic way is celebrated as working with nature, as opposed to working against it the non-organic way by using too many unnatural pesticides and other artificial chemicals.
Effects of Non-Organic Processes
The unnatural, non-organic methods that aid in growing and producing food result in a disruption to the natural balance of the world. The chemicals used such as pesticides can be harmful to wildlife, soil and farm animals.
Benefits of Going Organic
Organic food is seen as being healthier and richer in nutrients. Organically raised livestock that provide meat, dairy and eggs are not given growth hormones or antibiotics and are instead raised on a healthy diet in an environment appropriate for the animal. This in turn ends up being healthier for you.
Another benefit of organic food is that there are lower levels of pesticides involved in its production. Organic farms will use less toxic, naturally derived pesticide rather than synthetic pesticide. Studies have shown that exposure to low doses of pesticides can increase the risk of health issues like cancer over time.
The organic way of farming is more environmentally friendly as there’s less disruption to nature with unnatural chemicals. Methods used may use less energy and water, reduce pollution and harmful effects on soil. It also spares wildlife from harm, stopping animals such as birds and insects being exposed to pesticides.
While less creepy crawlies sounds like a good thing, creatures like earthworms and bees have important roles to play in the ecosystem, so using natural methods to keep pests away will have less of a harmful effect.
You can read more about how to have an environmentally friendly barbecue here.
Downsides to Organic Food
Since organic food does not contain any added preservatives, it tends to go off quicker when compared with non-organic food that will stay fresh and last for longer. Though organic food can start off fresher than regular food, especially if it is locally sourced.
Because using artificial methods like chemicals and hormones make the farming process easier and quicker, it ends up cheaper. Organic items involve more work to produce and so tend to cost higher than regular food, this is probably one of the biggest reasons that eating organic isn’t as mainstream as it could be.
Why A Barbecue Is Perfect for Going Organic
The downsides above actually make for a perfect opportunity to try out organic food if you have an upcoming barbecue planned.
A one-off occasion like a barbecue means that paying a higher price to buy organic foods won’t sting your wallet as much as buying everything organic for everyday use. Plus, since the barbecue is a planned event, you can buy organic food closer to the time you’ll be needing it, meaning you don’t have to worry about it expiring quickly.
Getting Organic Food
Bigger varieties of food for different dietary requirements are becoming more popular and easier to get from mainstream stores, stocking everything from dairy alternatives to vegan meals. Even your nearby supermarket should stock at least some organic products, or might even have its own organic section. You may even be able to find some Organic September deals in certain shops.
There are also a range of online services that you can order from, with some offering subscription services to deliver fresh organic fruit, vegetables, meat and fish every week.
How to Have an Organic Barbecue
It’s truly as easy as swapping in organic versions of the same meat and vegetables you were going to use.
We have plenty of recipes to try out on the site if you need inspiration. Take this recipe for chicken tikka with a yoghurt and curry leaf butter for example. For the yoghurt you can use Yeo Valley, as it’s an organic brand and not too expensive. You can stretch to organic chicken fillets and other organic alternatives if your budget allows.
Use as many organic ingredients as possible, but you don’t have to go 100% for a meal. In fact, for food, drink and other products to be labelled as organic, they need at least 95% of the ingredients to be organically sourced.
Try it Out
You don’t have to go completely organic, but the next time you see organic products in shops or perhaps online, try them out, a small swap is all it takes. It could be an experiment to see if you notice any difference.