Why certified organics
Our commitment to organics means that we only stock certified organic produce and groceries. Certified organic farmers have to have regular soil tests done and are inspected by certifying bodies to ensure they are following good organic practices. Many other home delivery suppliers say their produce is "organic" or "pesticide free" but without certification there is no way to be sure that it is genuinely organic. A farmer who has failed to gain organic certification can still call their produce "organic" but not "certified organic" So it is important to look for the certification logos to have "organic" confidence
The Gap Loco aims to make access to certified organic products easier and cheaper for everyone in our local area, because we believe
- organics is it is better for your health,
- better for the environment
- and better for the farmer's health.
Better for the environment
- Organic farming methods are focused on improving the health of the soil. Healthy soil with lots of humus, trace elements and micro organisms leads to healthy plants that are more resistant to pests and other problems.
- Conventional/chemical farming uses artificial water soluble fertilizers to encourage quick growth but which actually weakens the soil over time and thus requires more fertilizers. These plants tend to have higher concentrations of water and while looking lush they are very prone to pest attack and so conventional farmers then also become more reliant on pesticides.
- Over time the soil in organic farms becomes more healthy and water absorbant while conventional farming depletes the soil and is also more prone to erosion. This means less harm to waterways and important places like The Great Barrier Reef.
- Organic farmers do not use hybrid seed and so tend to grow the older varieties that were grown for taste. Large scale chemical farming, selects varieties that will stand the travel (food miles) so that it looks good on the shop shelf, and so taste is less of a priority.
- Organic farming is critical to avoiding harmful climate change as Organic growing practices involve storing carbon in the soil. Organic farms tend to be more labour intensive rather than machine dependent and so use less fossil fuel than a conventional farm. Instead of spraying for weeds around lettuce, for example, organic farmers generally hand weed. Artificial fertilizers are derived from fossil fuels and so conventional farming is very dependent on the oil industry.
- Organics is a self sustaining system that becomes less dependent on outside inputs over time. So organic growing is not just environmentally sustainable it is environmentally enhancing
- The price of conventional food does not include the true costs to the community resulting from its production. The costs of health care and long-term damage to the environment are not factored into the price. So it is the tax-payer who has to subsidize the externalities of chemical farming. Organic produce generally costs more than conventionally grown because to grow organic produce successfully requires considerable more labour input but for all our long term future it is actually less costly.
Better for your health
- Organically produced foods are more nutritious and lead to better overall health.
- Organic plants have higher concentrations of various elements like iron, calcium, vitamin C, antioxidants etc. and so not surprisingly many people claim to be able to taste the difference between conventional and organic produce. Healthier plants contain more flavonoids, which trigger our taste buds.
- Conventional farming relies on the use of pesticides and herbicides traces of which are ingested and can adversely affect our health. Contrary to popular belief, washing or peeling conventional produce only removes a percentage of the pesticides as they tend to be absorbed through the whole of the produce. Pesticide residues have been identified as being connected to the development of cancer and other illnesses.
- Organic Farming does not allow genetically modified seed or other genetically modified inputs. Given poor labelling laws the easiest and safest way to avoid genetically modified foods and inputs in ourfoods, is to eat certified organic food.
Better for the farmer
- When we buy conventional produce we are asking farmers to risk their own health by having to mix and spray dangerous chemicals. By supporting Organic farmers we are looking after their health as well.
Unlike conventional produce, certified organic farms are inspected annually to ensure correct organic farming processes are being followed and produce is tested for chemical residues. Therefore the only way to ensure that a product adheres to these standards, is to purchase certified organic food.
Farmers may claim to be organic or spray free, however unless a grower has been through the certification process, there is no way to know whether the food is to an appropriate organic standard through all parts of the production process.
In Australia, organic certification is performed by several organizations that are accredited by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) under the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce.
Certification is government-accredited and requires annual onsite inspections. It covers the whole supply chain from producer, processing, wholesaling, and exporting.
These bodies conduct testing of products produced in Australia and also imported product, which is labelled with their logo. The testing includes testing soils on farm, water, harvested product and finished packaged product.
Currently there are 7 registered DAFF accredited certifying bodies.
Australian Certified Organic (ACO) www.aco.net.au
NASAA Certified Organic www.nasaa.com.au
Organic Food Chain www.organicfoodchain.com.au
Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI) www.demeter.org.au
Safe Food Production Queensland (SFQ) www.safefood.qld.gov.au
The Tasmanian Organic Producers (TOP) www.tasorganicdynamic.com.au