Last week, we asked what ‘organic’ meant as part of the Soil Association’s month-long Organic September celebrations. This time, we look at what you can do to enable change.
It’s not just consumers who can ‘go organic’. In fact, there are a whole host of even greater steps that need to be taken before organic products hit the shelves.
Here’s a number of ways that individuals, businesses and producers can enable change towards “healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use”, as recommended by Soil Association.
There are a number of strict standards in place that organic products have to pass in order to be officially certified as organic.
The Soil Association’s own not-for-profit certification arm is one of the largest organic certification organisations in the UK, with another prominent certifying body being Organic Farms & Growers.
It was announced in February that the European Union and the US would begin sharing each other’s organic certification; meaning now only one classifying body has to certify a product’s organic nature.
For restaurants and caterers, the Food for Life Catering Mark is one of the most esteemed marks of recognition that organic food providers can pick up.
It “guarantees that what’s on the menu is freshly prepared, free from undesirable additives and better for animal welfare”, and says to would-be customers that the food is good in more than just the delicious sense.
Join a local group
If you’re passionate about organic produce, there are over 30 local groups run by the Soil Association in the UK that you can join in order to engage and share ideas with likeminded, organic-orientated individuals.
Whether you share recipe ideas, pass on vegetable growing techniques or put on organic-related events, the groups are vital in ensuring sustainable food systems for generations to come.
Click here to find your nearest one.
If you want your passion for organic food to extend into your working career, the Soil Association offers an Organic Apprenticeship Scheme for wannabe organic farmers and growers.
The two-year placement teaches individuals everything you need to know with regards to organic farming, and combines practical work assignments with theory-based seminars.
Community supported agriculture (CSA)
Through CSA, farmers and communities share all the benefits of growing organic produce.
Farmers receive a steady income stream, while the community gets fresh, organic produce on a regular basis: a win-win for both parties.
Visit the Soil Association’s dedicated CSA page to find out how you can get involved.
Organic buying groups
If your friends, family and colleagues share your passion for organic produce, it may be cost-efficient for you to set up an organic buying group, where food is bought in bulk directly from farmers and wholesalers.
This works well for vegetables, meat and dairy products, and in most cases works out significantly cheaper than buying organic goods from a supermarket.
The Soil Association has set up a Land Trust “to protect the countryside by acquiring and managing farmland sustainably; and to connect the public with the stewardship of the land.”
There are a number of courses available all over the UK that aim to pass on vital organic skills to as wide an audience as possible – perfect for farmers and growers interested in producing good food.
These range from bee-keeping to vegetable growing, willow weaving to hedge laying.
For a full list of courses, see the Soil Association’s website.
So there you have it; eight practical and easy ways to become immersed in all things organic. Do you already follow some of these recommendations? Perhaps you’re interested in taking up a course or joining a group? Let us know – we’d love to hear and share the reasons behind your thinking.
In related news, the Soil Association has this week chosen Good Energy, the UK’s foremost 100% renewable electricity supplier, as its official energy partner.
Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder at Good Energy, said, “We are proud to partner the Soil Association, which represents independently minded, environmentally aware farmers who are determined to work in harmony with the land.
“As a champion of smaller suppliers producing natural renewable energy, Good Energy is perfectly placed to support farmers who are interested in generating their own power.”
Davenport appeared in Blue & Green Tomorrow’s recent Guide to Limitless Clean Energy, in which she spoke enthusiastically about the UK renewable energy sector’s prosperous future.
Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy
Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.
Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.
Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.
How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:
- They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
- They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
- They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
- They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.
Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.
Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use
The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.
Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.
Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers
Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.
Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.
Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy
Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:
- Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
- Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
- Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.
You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.
How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands
Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.
Small waste adds up over time
A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:
- Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
- Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
- Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
- Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.
Going electronic has significant benefits
If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.
Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:
- Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
- Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
- Using financial software to manage your books
- Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
- Arranging digital feedback and review forms
- Making the most of Google Docs
Going green can help you to make money too
Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.
Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.