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So what really is ORGANIC anyway?

A tribute to Earth Day, April 22nd

Recently, and more than ever, we are hearing the term 'organic'. To most of us we automatically think no pesticide use. Good answer, but there's a whole lot more to it. Organic is not new. It is normal. What we do to our food today is what has changed.  Is it due to a lack of better judgment that it has become socially acceptable?

Did you know that organic foods are actually proven to be healthier for you?  They are loaded with more nutrients than non-organic alternatives. Organic foods lack unhealthy food additives and genetically modified organisms (thank goodness!). Lastly they just TASTE BETTER.

Read a summary of BBC's article below from and expand your knowledge of this rapidly growing (and for good reason!) trend.

Background Guide # 1- Organic Food as taken directly from

Organic agriculture is defined as a system of farming based on principles of human, animal and environmental health. At its core, organic farming is about avoiding the use of agro-chemicals to minimise damage to the environment and wildlife.

The concept of organic has been around for more than half a century - Walter Northbourne coined the term in Look to the Land, published in 1940. During the early to mid 1990s, the organic market really took off in the UK. The global organic market is now worth more than £17 billion and supplied by more than 300,000 square km of certified agricultural land - an area roughly the size of Italy.

All foods sold as organic must originate from farms, processors and importers that have been approved by an official certification body. In the case of processed foods, at least 95% of the agricultural ingredients (ie excluding water and salt) must be certified organic. The rest can be non-organic, though only in the case of certain approved ingredients.

How do you get organic certification?

The complete list of minimum organic standards runs to 104 pages. However, most of the regulations relate to these four areas:

Fertilizers Most synthetic fertilizers are ruled out. Instead, the soil is kept fertile with manure and crop rotation (alternating regular crops with others planted specifically to add nutrients to the soil). Fertilisers are also a major source of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas almost 300 times more potent than CO2

Pesticides Most herbicides, insecticides and fungicides are prohibited. Instead, pests are controlled primarily by predatory insects, weeding and the co-planting of crops that deter each other's pests. A few non-synthetic pesticides are allowed as a last resort

Animal welfare Animals must have adequate space and access to free-range areas, and their feed must be organic. Minimum slaughter ages are specified and practices such as docking tails and cutting teeth are only allowed in certain circumstances

Additives Most colorings, preservatives and other additives - including aspartame, hydrogenated fat and monosodium glutamate - are prohibited. Only 36 additives are permitted, out of a total of at least 500. The Soil Association limits this further to 30.

Besides rules and regulations, organic bodies encourage producers to abide by wider principles relating to health, ecology, fairness and care.

Organic food offers more nutrients and fewer pesticide residues. "More of the good stuff we need and less of the bad stuff that we don't need", as the Soil Association puts it. A number of scientific studies have added weight to this view...

 These guides have been reproduced from BBC Green, part of BBC Worldwide.

Here at Babar Too, we love using only the finest organic herbs available.


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