This year’s Organic Week will go from Monday 9th – Sunday 15th April and we’re delighted to have an excuse to celebrate everything we love about being an organic company!
Take a look at some exciting things we’ll be doing this Organic Week:
Visit our Farm
We will be opening our gates to the public for a tour of Common Property, our organic market farm on Saturday 14th April. The event is free and we encourage everyone who is curious about the benefits of growing organic and the processes involved to come along. To register, please take a look at our event page.
We will also have free tastings from Hello Raw almonds and macaroons, Serious popcorn, Trade Aid cashews, Almighty Juices, Cheese Barn cheeses, Bennetto Chocolates, Clearwater Yoghurts, Ceres Seaweed Snacks, Homer Wines, Lo Bros Kombucha and Nutty Bruce Milks.
The Benefits of Organic
So, why is organic "good for you, good for the earth"? There are loads of reasons but we've chosen to focus on these top 5.
The chemicals that plants naturally produce to protect themselves against diseases can also help to protect us from getting ill and may even assist our recovery from some diseases. When chemicals and pesticides are used on plants to defend them from disease, they no longer produce these beneficial chemicals. To read more about this, take a look at our recent blog by our Wellington City store Naturopath, Dianna Tawharu.
An increasing number of studies are providing detailed evidence of the comparative nutritional value of organic food. These include:
This meta-analysis of 343 peer-reviewed publications indicate statistically significant and meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops/crop-based foods. Most importantly, the concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher in organic crops/crop-based foods.
This meta-analysis of 170 published studies showed higher polyunsaturated fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, α-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk.
Organic farmers use no soluble mineral salt fertilisers and very few chemicals. Weed, disease and pests are controlled by crop rotation, the use of natural predators, biological diversity and the use of limited mechanical and chemical intervention.
Agriculture is responsible for 47.9% of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and a big contributor is the intensive dairying industry. Overall, nitrous oxide emissions (N2O) increased 48% from 1990 and now make up 21% of all agricultural emissions to 2015. Of all N2O emissions, 94% came from agricultural soils in 2015, mainly due to nitrogen fertiliser. Read more about it here.
Similarly the Ministry for the Environment found that nearly two-thirds of the country's monitored river-swimming spots recorded levels of pollution in 2015 that rendered them unsafe for swimming: the biggest contributor, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment found, is nutrient run-off from dairy farms. Read more here.
But the dairy farmers do not pay to offset greenhouse gas emissions – this cost is picked up by the taxpayer. And the dairy farmers do not pay to clean up the waterways – this cost is picked up by ratepayers.
Organic farmers don’t use synthetic fertilisers and they don’t overstock their farms so there is less methane emitted and no run off from nitrogen fertilisers.
For more information, see our recent blog by Marion Wood on organic farming and climate change.
At Commonsense, all our beef and lamb is certified organic. If we cannot find meat that is certified organic (eg venison) we ensure it is not fed with antibiotics or hormones.
For some more information, take a look at our chicken suppliers – Bostock.
Bostock is certified organic by AsureQuality and their organic certification standards can be found here.
Fair trade and organics are part of our core values here at Commonsense. They both acknowledge the interconnection between people, food and the environment.
All of our coffee has been certified organic and Fairtrade. This means that we only sell coffee which has been grown using organic practises by farmers who have been paid a fair price for their work.
Read more about our Fairtrade coffee on our blog.
And you can take a look at the Fairtrade Labelling Organisation certification standards here.