Did you Know?

An average family in the west throws away around 20-40 kgs of food packaging waste every month.

It takes 5,000 litres of water to make 1kg of cheese, 20,000 litres to grow 1kg of coffee, and 100,000 litres to produce 1kg of hamburger beef.

The food industry annually spends over £10.5 billion on chemicals to add to food and alter it.

A third of all fruit and vegetables we eat contain pesticide residues

Avocados contain a special kind of sugar that helps prevent low blood sugar, so may be the ideal diet food.

Source: John Farndon

Why Eat Organic?

For Health - On average, organic fruit and vegetables contain higher levels of vitamin C, essential minerals and cancer-fighting antioxidants.

No Nasty Additives - Amongst the many additives banned by the Soil Association are hydrogenated fat, aspartame (artificial sweetener) and monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Avoids Pesticides - Over 400 chemical pesticides are rountinely used in conventional farming. Pesticides are often present in non-organic food.

Care for Animals - No system of farming has higher levels of animal welfare standards than organic farms working to Soil Association standards.

Good for Wildlife and the Environment - Organic farming is better for wildlife, causes lower pollution from sprays and produces less carbon dioxide - the main global warming gas.

"Food is steeped in oil. About 400 gallons of diesel are needed to produce the average American's food annually, and a similar figure holds here. Most of our food is produced using nitrogen fertiliser, the 'wonder chemical' enabling non-organic farmers to maximise the productivity of their fields. But such chemical fertility doesn't come free. Each one tonne of fertiliser takes one tonne of oil and 108 tonnes of water to make, giving off seven tonnes of carbon dioxide in the process. If farming is to become climate-friendly, it must rely less on fossil fuels. That means fewer chemical fertilisers, more use of rotations and natural fertility-buliding crops like clover"

Robin Maynard - Soil Association

Organic or not Organic:

  • It is important to remember that all fruits, should be sub ripened and grown organically. The same rule should be applied for vegetables, grains and the way farm animals are raised.
  • The sooner the produce is utilized after harvest, the more alive and nutritious it is. Therefore, sprouts and grasses, which can be grown all year round in any climate and homes, are so beneficial.
  • Good food is dependent upon healthy soil. Just as certain bacteria in our intestines are necessary for the proper digestion and assimilation of food, so plants need certain bacteria to enable them to flourish.
  • Soil that is extensively treated with chemicals becomes so depleted of enzymes and nutrients, that the resulting produce lacks vitamins and minerals, which is then often compensated for by more chemical injection. Unfortunately, the conventional method of growing produce today is dependent upon chemicals: to fertilize the soil, to control pests and diseases, to enhance growth and appearance and to prolong the shelf-life of produce.
  • Unfortunately, every chemical that has been used on plants or animals will be there when we eat it, and they can’t be washed away with water. Plants and animals, like us, absorb everything that has been given to or used on them during their lifetime. More disturbing is the fact that our body must cope with the toxic residues that becomes part of our food.
  • These types of toxins are not easily eliminated by our gastrointestinal systems. They build up over time and attack our immune system, leaving us susceptible to allergies, diseases and degeneration. Today, more and more people need to take vitamin and mineral supplements in order to replace what is not present in the food we eat, so called ‘empty food’.

The Alphabet of Food Additives:

  1. Acidity regulators, used to alter and control the acidity or alkalinity levels for different desired effects, which can include preservation, added/altered tartness, colour retention and to assist raising agents.
  2. Acids, used to control to what degree other substances function and/or to impart a sharp taste. Assists in the release of carbon dioxide in raising agents and can have a preservative effect.
  3. Anti-caking agents, used to ensure the free flow in products such as dried milks, icing sugar and table salt.
  4. Anti-foaming agents, used to reduce or prevent foaming (frothing) on boiling and to reduce scum forming.
  5. Antioxidants, used to protect food against deterioration caused by exposure to air (oxidation), such as fat rancidity, flavour deterioration or colour changes.
  6. Bleaching agents, used to artificially whiten flour.
  7. Buffers, see acidity regulators.
  8. Bulking agents, used to increase volume without significantly adding to the energy levels of the food. Normally used in diet foods but can also be used to pad out expensive ingredients. Not usually digested and acts as a source of dietary fiber (roughage).
  9. Carriers and carrier solvents, used to modify a food additive (by dissolving, diluting or dispersing etc.), without changing its function, to enable easier use or handling.
  10. Colours, used to restore or reinforce colour lost during processing or storage, to give colour to foods which otherwise would be virtually colourless (such as soft drinks) and to ensure uniformity from batch to batch.
  11. Emulsifiers, used to aid in the formation and maintenance of the dispersion of two or more substances, which would normally separate and not normally mix, such as oil and water. Milk, mayonnaise and salad dressings are typical oil in water emulsions, butter and margarine water in oil emulsions.
  12. Emulsifying salts, used to disperse protein so reducing the stringiness in cooked cheese.
  13. Firming agents, used to make or retain firmness or crispness in fruit and vegetables and to strengthen gels.
  14. Flavour enhancers, used to enhance or bring out the flavour and/or odours in foods without imparting a distinctive flavour of their own.
  15. Flavours, there are around 4,000 flavours and they are used for the same reasons for flavour as colourings are for colour, to restore, reinforce, add what is not there and to ensure batch uniformity. They are not presently subject to the 'E Number' system nor are they required to be separately shown on food labels. About labels and flavour, note that 'xx flavour' means just what it says, the product does not need to contain any xx, just taste as though it does. However, 'xx flavoured' on the label means that the product must contain xx. The 'ed' makes all the difference.
  16. Flour improvers, used to enhance the elastic properties and aid the development of dough. Also accelerates the effect of bleaching agents.
  17. Foaming agents, used to provide a uniform dispersion of gas in a food.
  18. Gelling agents, used to form a jelly to provide texture to a product.
  19. Glazing agents, used to produce a protective coating or to impart a polish/sheen on the surface of a food such as confectionery or citrus fruit.
  20. Humectants, used to retain moisture in foods by absorbing water from the air to prevent drying out.
  21. Modified starch, used for various functions including adding texture, adding bulk, stabilizing and as a thickener.
  22. Packaging gases, used to replace air in the packaging of foodstuffs susceptible to oxidation Not necessarily shown on food labels.
  23. Preservatives, used to extend the shelf life of products by preventing the growth of micro-organisms, which could otherwise cause food decay and, in some cases, food poisoning.
  24. Propellants, a gas or volatile liquid used to expel foodstuffs from aerosols.
  25. Raising agents, used to increase the volume of doughs and batters by promoting gas release (aeration).
  26. Releasing agents, used to prevent foodstuffs sticking to machinery, molds, packaging etc. but not necessarily shown on food labels even though some may remain in the food.
  27. Sequestrants, used to combine with trace metals in the environment to render them inactive.
  28. Stabilisers, used to maintain the physical state of a food and to stabilize, retain or intensify the existing colour of a food, particularly emulsions, and therefore often used with emulsifiers.
  29. Sweeteners:
  30. Intense sweeteners: they have a sweetness many times that of sugar and are therefore used at very low levels. They are used in products such as diet foods, soft drinks and tabletop sweeteners.
  31. Bulk sweeteners: they have a similar sweetness to sugar and are used at comparable levels. Unlike intense sweeteners they also provide bulk (although their main function is to provide sweetness). They are used in products such as sugar-free confectionery and foods for diabetics.
  32. Thickeners, used to increase viscosity, modify texture and impart stability.

Recommended Viewing:

Our Top Picks To Get You Started

Recommended Reading:

Supereating by Ian Marber How to store your garden produce by Piers Warren How to grow fresh air by Dr. B.C.Wolverton Foodwise by Wendy E. Cook The concise guide to self-sufficency by John Seymour The biodynamic farm by Karl-Ernst Osthaus Bob Flowerdews's Organic Gardening Bible Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley This changes everything by Naomi Klein The China Study by T.Colin Campbell PhD with Thomas M. Campbell II Earth Democracy by Vandana Shiva Eat your heart out by Felicity Lawrence Ecofeminism by Vandana Shiva E for additives by Mauice Hanssen with Jill Marsden The food intolerance bible by Antony J. Haynes & Antoinette Savill Gluten free baking by Phil Vickery Globalization and the environment by Peter Newell Healing with whole foods by Paul Pitchford The herb garden for cooks India's organic farming revolution by Sapna E. Thottathil The intelligent gardener by Steve Solomon with Erica Reinheimer The long emergency by James Howard Kunstler Healthy every day by Dale Pinnock Mindfulness for Health by Vidyamala Burch & Danny Penman Organic gardening; the natural no-dig way by Charles Dowding No logo by Naomi Klein Not on the label by Felicity Lawrence The politics of climate change Raw living by Kate Magic Staying alive by Vandana Shiva Stolen Harvest by Vandana Shiva Sustainability by Chris Goodall The uncook book by Tanya Mamer Vegan with a vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz The vegetable gardener's guide to perma culture by Christopher Shein with Julie Thompson Water wars by Vandana Shiva You are what you eat by Dr. Gillian McKeith Living on one acre or less by Sally Morgan Aquaponics by Gaia Rodale Aquaponics the essential guide by Andy Jacobson Aquaponic gardening for beginners by Randy Simpson Botanicum by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis Build a better vegetable garden by Joyce Russell & Ben Russell Collins pests, diseases and disorders of garden plants by Stefan Buczacki & Keith Harris The compost powered water heater by Bill McKibben Compost toilets, a practical diy guide by Dave Darby Permaculture design by Aranya The elimination diet workbook by Maggie Moon Solve your food intolerance by Dr. John Hunter with Elizabeth Workman and Jenny Woolner Allotment gardening for Dummies by Sven Wombwell Gardening for profit by Kate Collyns Go gluten and dairy free and feel great by Giselle Wrigley BSc (Hons) Pharmacy Global crisis by Geoffrey Parker Growing organic berries by Adam Holmes How to grow food in your polytunnel all year round by Mark Gatter & Andy McKee Grow your own vegetables in pots and containers by Paul Peacock The Kew gardens children's cookbook The children's garden b Matthew Appleby The children's step-by-step cook book by Angela Wilkes A portable latin for gardeners by James Armitage The little book of allotment tips by William Fortt Medicinal Cookery by Dale Pinnock The gardener's companion to medicinal plants by Monique Simmonds, Melanie Jayne Howes & Jason Irving Miracle Juices by Charmaine Yabsley & Carolyn Gold Heilbrun The nutritional health handbook for women by Marilyn Glenville PhD The polytunnel book by Joyce Russell & Ben Russell Royal Horticultural Society Pruning and training by Christopher Brickell & David Joyce Raised bed gardening by Jason Johns Practical Self-sufficency by Dick & James Strawbridge Cooking for the sensitive gut by Dr. Joan Ransley and Dr. Nick Read Gardening for children with autism spectrum disorders and special educational needs by Natasha Etherington One magic square by Lolo Houbein Teaming with fungi by Jeff Lowenfels A political theology of climate change by Michael S. Northcott Tiny tabletop gardens by Emma Hardy The ultimate book of vegan cooking by Yvonne Bishop -Weston & Tony Bishop-Weston Permaculture and climate change adaptation by Thomas Henfrey & Gil Penha-Lopes The usborne beginner's cook book by Fiona Watt & Kim Lane Water storage, tanks, cisterns, aquifiers & ponds by Art Ludwig