Having spent the majority of my uni years watching reruns of The Good Life on BBC1 I’m no stranger to the benefits of growing your own, and avoiding the pesticides and additives that come as standard in most supermarket produce. Organic food avoids all the nasty stuff, and since having kids I’ve become more determined not to pollute their little bodies with unnecessary nasties, so I find myself heading further and further down the organic path. There’s no denying that going organic is a wise choice when it comes to health, and also for the environment. But it isn’t always that easy to go organic when you’re living in a city like London. Or so I thought. Recently I’ve started looking into ways I can serve up dinners full of goodness for my little family, and say organic on the go. Here’s what I’ve learnt:
Grow your own
It sounds obvious but it really can be that easy. Aside from the therapeutic effects of growing your own food, and the reward when you finally reap the benefits of all that digging, you’re also making a great investment in your own health and wellbeing by turning your garden into a vegetable patch. Food I’ve found easy to grow includes spinach and rocket, which thrive in most soils and keep growing throughout the summer, as well as tomatoes, peas, and even potatoes and onions. My kids love picking peas and popping them out of their pods when they’re ready to eat. I did attempt peppers last year, but that particular mission went very wrong when the Pied Piper of snails seemed to lure the entire shell-backed population of London town into my garden. Fruits such as strawberries and blueberries can be grown in the garden or even in hanging baskets if you don’t have much outdoor space. And if you don’t have a garden at all, try a window box for fresh herbs.
In all honesty, unless you live your life eating tomatoes and spinach, or buy a big farm in the country, you can’t survive solely on your own produce. But it is easier to stay organic if you plan ahead. Delivery services such as Abel & Cole and Riverford Veg are a great way to be a lazy organic. They offer a box-to-your-door service full of organic goodies each week, and because it’s all seasonal you get given what’s grown fresh that week. Yes, sometimes you end up with a fridge full of broad beans that nobody can be bothered to shell, and there’s only so much you can do with seasonal greens before you lose the will to live, but it’s a good way of going organic and trying things you wouldn’t usually pick up in the supermarket.
Chemical free cleaning
The products we use around the home and on our skin have as much of an effect on our health as the food we eat does. Website likes Green Bear UK are a great go-to for organic cleaning products, and companies like Proelle Organic are really leading the way when it comes to organic skincare – we particularly love their night cream for its soft scent and non-greasy consistency. The English Mineral Makeup Company uses 100% natural ingredients across its range, and loads of high street brands are following suit.
Do your research
A quick online search can give you ideas for eating out organically and just Google organic snack to find brands like Nom and Hippeas who make really tasty organic snacks. Hippeas chickpea crisps have become the staple supper in our house of late.
Support organic businesses
As much as you can, try and support local and family owned organic businesses and support organic based products. Farm shop scan be found everywhere and can make for a nice afternoon out as so many have cafes or are attached to working farms. The more we buy organic, the more will be available, and as demand goes up we can hope that costs come down too. Going organic shouldn’t have to break the bank!
Hayley Coristine from the Soil Association says going organic is often easier than people think. She told me: “Whether it’s wine, chocolates, veg, dairy or meat, getting hold of organic produce is easier than ever. Every year, we’re seeing more new and exciting organic products from health and wellness foods to recipe boxes, and new venues in London such as zero waste restaurant Tiny Leaf, Radio Alice and gastropub Duke of Cambridge offering innovative ways to experience organic.”
- To help make some noise about the benefits of organic, The Soil Association are celebrating everything organic with their Boom Awards. Find out more here.