Organic Food – is it just snake oil?
Choosing to go organic here on Regan Farm was both the best decision we ever made, but also one of the hardest to fulfil. Many people see Organic Produce as snake oil and just another way to get you to spend more money on your food shop. Other people are distrustful that the food they have bought really is organic – and a way to get you spend more on your food shop.
Then you have a fervent following who believe they can taste the difference and feel much healthier for being organic.
The reality is that being an organic farmer is more than making sure you aren’t using synthetic pesticides and unhealthy feed for our livestock but so much more. It is also about the welfare and health of our animals, and making sure we do our bit to leave our planet in better condition than when we found it.
What are the Rules of Engagement?
There are a number of very strict rules we need to adhere to, set by the Organic Trust, a regulating body that ensures the food quality of organic produce is among the best in the world.
As an organic livestock farmer, we are required to maintain a very high standard of animal welfare, ensuring the habitats and feeding habits are as close to the natural, or wild habitats as possible. At the same time, we are required to maintain habitats for plants and wildlife at the same time.
We are not permitted to use non-organic feed for our animals, or give them antibiotics and hormone treatments that would artificially enhance meat or egg production.
We are also here to encourage seasonal shopping – buying what is in season while it is fresher and tastier.
Why do we do it?
While working at a feed mill Mary realised just how terrible the diet of a regularly farmed animal can be. This set off a domino effect of research and questioning the practices of farming and the responsibilities farmers have to the food chain and also the impact on their local environment and as part of the global jigsaw.
Realising that the food we feed our food will impact our own health coupled with the ethics of the way the animals in our care – irrespective of their final destiny – Mary realised she couldn’t just sit back any longer without being part of the solution.
What are the benefits of eating organic food?
You may have seen many articles in magazines, social media or even just a quick Google search about how eating organically will or won’t leave you feeling better and just how much of an effect an organic diet will have on you (both for and against). There are some facts that are indisputable that we consider to be elementary when choosing what to serve our friends and family at meal times.
- Organically raised animals are not given antibiotics, growth hormones or fed animal by-products. This means that the resources you give your body to mend and build new cells and fortify your immune and defence systems is as close to being in harmony with your own body as can be.
- High Standards are guaranteed. Whilst there are regulatory bodies within conventional farming, any produce carrying the OT logo has been assessed on a regular basis to ensure that you are getting what you pay for. Organically produced meat, eggs and dairy are higher in certain nutrients – up to 50% higher in omega-3 fatty acids in organically raised meat and eggs.
- There is a smaller impact on the environment around organic farmland than conventional farms. There will not be pesticide and hormone residue in the bodies of water nor on the land around them. In fact, it’s shown that wild life thrives around organic farmland. As do the animals within our care. Organic farmers feel a great responsibility to ensure their animals are living a natural, happy and stress free life as possible.
Whilst you may not be a fervent follower of the organic movement, we hope that doing our bit to improve the environment and animal welfare on our farm will help you to consider buying some organic produce where you can and make your own contribution to a better environment.