Unfortunately the word ‘Organic’, although now protected under domestic Australian Labeling Laws is still used very loosely in the general market place...It is for this reason that as an informed consumer you should always look to buy Certified Organic goods. This way you have a third party assurance to the claims that a farmer is farming within the very strict guidelines set out by international standards.
At Lettuce Deliver we hold the Organic Certification of produce and products in the highest regard. As a Family we are passionate about Sustainable Agriculture in Australia and wish only to support those Farmers and Producers that are prepared to come under mine as well as your scrutiny.
We are also attracted to a food production system that prides itself on integrity and traceability and has, at its heart, a commitment to human health, animal welfare, and the environment. For these reasons we do not deal in Conventional Raw Product at all.
In 2001 we decided as a family that to meet your growing needs we would have to introduce some Non – Certified, but environmentally friendly packaged products to our available range to keep our business ‘convenient’ for the consumer. We do not recognize ‘natural’, ‘chemical free’, ‘organic’, ‘minimum residue’, etc labeling as anything other than conventional, so when ordering from our site please be sure to look at the Certification status of each product so that you can make an informed decision about the foods you are eating.
Simply, ‘Certified Organic’ and ‘Biodynamic’ describe methods of food production in soils of enhanced biological activity, determined by the humus level and root structure, so that plants selectively acquire nutrients for healthy growth through the soil ecosystem, and not primarily via soluble salts in the soil water. Such methods of production exclude, or largely avoid, the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones or antibiotics. Organically grown food is produced from natural farming systems that do not damage the environment. Organic growers maintain the long-term fertility of soils by fostering the creation of humus through replenishing organic matter, balancing mineral levels and increasing microbial life.
Organic farmers do not use:
- Synthetic fertilizers
- Synthetic pesticides or herbicides
- Antibiotics or growth hormones in animal production
The principal of organic farming is that a healthy plant grows from healthy soil and is more resistant to disease. In cases where a Farmer does experience pest problems he may use companion planting, predator releases, microbial diseases, biodegradable botanical sprays, resistant varieties, mechanical and pheromone traps, etc.
This complex management system requires more skill and hard work than simply spraying a field with poisons. It also requires a deeply held commitment by farmers to ecological production. One of the clearest distinctions between a Conventional Farmer and a Certified Organic Farmer is in their approach to nature, in particular how they go about keeping crops and animals in good health. Most Conventional Farmers take a preventative approach, while Organic Farmers simply look to work with nature as mother earth intended producing highly nutritious fuel for our bodies.
How are Animals treated?
All Certified Organic animals must be fed certified organic feeds, cannot be treated with growth promotants or antibiotics during their lifetime and must be able to roam and graze freely performing their natural behaviors. Organic livestock producers must practice ‘best environmental management’, ensuring biodiversity and land and wildlife conservation. Each animal sold must have a verified lifetime of organic management in accordance with the organic standard and carry clear identification. Animal welfare is also paramount. Consideration for the natural behaviors of animals is critical in the planning and management of organic livestock farms.
What is the difference between Organic and Biodynamic ?
Food sold under the ‘Demeter’ logo or ‘Biodynamic’ logo, have been produced according to the ‘Biodynamic’ method of agriculture inaugurated in 1924 by the Austrian scientist Dr. Rudolf Steiner.
The key difference between organic and biodynamics is the application of ‘preparations’ which include 500 and 501 as well as a range of compost preparations that assist in the composting process and enable biodynamic processes to work at the soil level within composts. Formula 500 includes using BD cow manure that is packed into cow horns and buried through the winter months (when natural forces are drawing energies into the ground). In Spring they are uncovered and to use this preparation it is carefully and purposefully stirred with a machine that creates vortexes which further assists in energizing the solution. This is then sprayed out on the farm at levels that are homeopathic in their application.
Are there any health benefits to eating Organically grown food ?
The media is constantly reporting that pesticides may contaminate many of our food products. In particular the topics seem to focus on meat, milk and vegetables as being the most dangerous in terms of chemical residues. Of the 35,000 different pest control materials now available, many are known to have long term contributing effects on diseases such as cancers, birth defects, alzheimers syndrome, multiple sclerosis, asthma and various degenerative diseases. The main idea is that organically grown food is unlikely to contain harmful residues because the use of toxic substances in it’s production has been eliminated. Research has also shown that organically grown produce contains more proteins, vitamins, minerals and enzymes than conventionally grown foods.
Why does organic cost more?
The cost of organic food is higher than that of conventional food because the organic price tag more closely reflects the true cost of growing the food: substituting labor and intensive management for chemicals, the health and environmental costs of which are borne by society. These costs include cleanup of polluted water and remediation of pesticide contamination, degraded rural environment, lower quality nutrition, soil erosion not to mention unsustainable prices back to the Farm by large corporations only interested in their own bottom line.
There are also other hidden costs – for example energy. Conventional farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry. In the US, more energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all crops. Despite a ten fold increase in the use of pesticides between 1947 and 1974, crop losses due to insects had doubled – partly because some insects have become genetically resistant to certain pesticides.
As Organic producers expand in numbers, perfect techniques, and see market expansion for their products, total costs will likely be less than that for conventional products requiring costly non-renewable inputs. Furthermore, as the number of Farmers decrease due to unrealistic returns, and society realizes the externalized costs of conventional farming, the increased price of conventional foods is inevitable. Prices for organic foods also include costs of growing, harvesting, transportation and storage, which generally are more expensive for Organic Farmers. Lets use the growing of onions as an example;
- Organic onions are grown at wider spacing than conventional onions. Usually 4 rows per tractor width are used rather than 7. This allows for better airflow to counteract fungal attack.
- Conventional onions receive at least 2 herbicide applications and one hand weeding. Organic plots receive usually receive 2 or 3 hand weedings which increases labor costs by about 50%.
- When we combine lower yields per acre with higher labor cost it makes sense that Organic produce would be worth more than Conventional produce.
In the case of processed foods, processing and packaging costs are also included. Organically produced foods must meet stricter regulations governing all these steps than conventional foods. The intensive management and labor used in organic production are frequently (though not always) more expensive than the chemicals routinely used on conventional farms. There is mounting evidence that if all the indirect costs of conventional food production were factored into the price of food, organic foods would cost the same, or, more likely, be cheaper than conventional food.
At the moment Organic Food costs more because it is worth more !
At Lettuce Deliver we give our Farmers and Wholesalers a fair return for their hard work to encourage them to continue farming organically.
So, if you care about your health and sustainable agriculture for our children, then please learn more about organic farming and buy organic products. It's great for you and the planet!!