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Sustainable fashion: the gift that gives twice

Safia Minney: The fast fashion industry is the world’s largest polluter after oil. This is largely caused by farming one of the thirstiest of all crops – non-organic cotton. Conventional, non-organic cotton farming requires an extremely high use of water resulting in draining water resources, decreasing wildlife diversity and preventing future generations from meeting their basic human needs. Growing conventional cotton uses 16% of the world’s total insecticides and pesticides and it takes over 3,900 litres of water to produce an average t-shirt.

24 November 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Women’s monthly dose of glyphosate – should we be worried?

Susie Hewson: Natracare, together with the Women’s Voices for the Earth, are raising awareness about the unregulated and potentially harmful chemicals in feminine care products, including pesticides, fragrances, dyes and preservatives. At the same time, we aim to offer a viable solution of certified organic cotton and organophosphate-free natural materials to avoid unnecessary exposure to potentially carcinogenic materials.

17 November 2015 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 6

Poisoned apples are not just for fairy tales – Greenpeace report finds pesticides all around us

Marianne Landzettel: It’s been 53 years since the publication of Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ in which she described the detrimental effect of indiscriminate pesticide use on the environment. Carson was concerned about the use of DDT to fight malaria and other insect born diseases and because of the dangers to the environment and human health. Its use today is heavily regulated and restricted. It’s been 50 years since pesticides became a main staple in ‘conventional’ agriculture. According to a recent report by Greenpeace* 'millions of tons and hundreds of types of synthetic chemical pesticides’ are applied every year in what the report calls agriculture’s ‘pesticide addiction’.

11 November 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 3

12 ways to have a more sustainable Christmas

Natasha Collins Daniel: Little choices can make a big difference, so this Christmas we’ve come up with 12 ways for you to enjoy a festive period that is better for people, animals and the environment.

10 November 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Making trees extra green this Christmas

Andy Grundy: You’ll probably know that we work hard to protect our soil through our work with organic food, textiles and beauty products, but did you know we also keep a close eye on one of the most important things that comes out of it - trees. Our Forestry team work hard to promote responsible forest management right across the globe.

10 November 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Out to Lunch: A Secret Diner's Perspective

Anya Hart Dyke: It can be pretty stressful taking a young child to a restaurant. My daughter is 17 months old so I’m always wondering if there’ll be room for the buggy, if they’ll have high chairs, if I’ll get a chance to eat my own meal or have to get a doggy bag. The last thing you expect to worry about is the food.

06 November 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Things the locavore diet has taught me

Holly Black: For the past two months I have been eating a locavore diet; that is to say, I have been eating only food produced within 100 miles of Bristol. It might sound a bit extreme, but it's all part of a research project called Going Local Going Green, where a group of 4 Bristol dwellers have been looking at what it really means to go local and go green in our fair city - including the way in which we buy and eat our food. We've been keeping video blogs on the locavore diet and on different aspects of the research on our website.

27 October 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

A revolution in children’s food on the high street is underway

Rob Percival: Two years ago the Out to Lunch campaign recruited a small army of ‘secret diner’ parents to find out what the nation's high street restaurants were serving up to our youngsters. The response from parents was emphatic: "these restaurants would go out of business if they treated their grown-up guests the same."

21 October 2015 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 3

Putting farmers at the heart of farm research

Thomas MacMillan: You don’t get many giggles on Farming Today – 5:45AM is a bit early for frivolity. But the other day I laughed. We were launching Innovative Farmers, which recognises farmers’ ingenuity and gives them research help and funding to tackle the big challenges in agriculture – the presenter asked if that stopped at creative uses for baler twine. I laughed as I’ve certainly seen it, but that’s actually just where it starts.

20 October 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 0

Organic agriculture more profitable than conventional farming says US study

Marianne Landzettel: Demand for organic produce is growing and organic farming has a lot of benefits, from better soil quality to not having to work with highly toxic pesticides or herbicides. But a lot of farmers who are thinking about switching to organic are worried about the financial implications: on average yields in organic agriculture are lower than under a conventional regime – can organic agriculture compete financially? A comparative study done by scientists at Washington State University shows: yes it can! And not just that: they are up to a third (22 – 35%) more profitable than conventional farms.

15 October 2015 | 1 Comments | Recommended by 0

Get glyphosate out of our bread

Vanessa Kimbell: As a baker, the fact that I find most disturbing is that glyphosate is found in the bread we eat. A study in 2013 by Pan UK revealed that 63% of the loaves analysed contained traces of at least one pesticide, and this year tests by the Defra committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF) have reported that up to 30% of UK bread contains glyphosate. If this chemical was being added to our food by a foreign force, and not our farmers, we’d universally agree that we were under attack. Our most basic food, bread, contains traces of a potentially carcinogenic weedkiller. Suddenly a slice of toast has a 1 in 3 chance of being a contributory factor to a devastating disease that, according to Cancer Research UK, causes more than one in four of all deaths in the UK. So this year I will not be picking blackberries. Instead I wander through the field with the feeling that there is something seriously wrong with our food system.

09 October 2015 | 2 Comments | Recommended by 2

Catching up with Future Growers apprentices

Rachel Harries: This weekend I’m off to Abbey Home Farm, an 800 hectare organic oasis in the Cotswolds. I’ll be meeting up with nine of our Future Growers, who are learning some of the techniques and approaches needed to produce fruit and veg for the growing organic market. We’ve been running this programme now for eight years and have seen over 50 new organic growers dip their hands in the soil and step onto their own organic journey, so I thought it might be a good time to look back at what some of them have gone on to.

02 October 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

The Journey of a Certified Organic Beauty Brand

Abi Weeds: Twelve years ago, we started out on a road that has undeniably shaped our brand’s history. We became one of the first brands certified under the Soil Association’s organic health and beauty standards, and also launched the very first certified shampoo. This blog looks back on that ultimately rewarding journey.

18 September 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

The Pursuit of Clarity

Jayne Russell: Organic Beauty Week starts 14th September as part of the Soil Association’s Organic September initiative and this year the focus is the Campaign for Clarity. Nom Nom pregnancy and baby skincare will be supporting its efforts to encourage greater understanding of natural and organic claims for skin care to prevent consumers being misled.

18 September 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

How session Makeup Artist Khandiz Joni switched to using only natural & organic beauty brands

Khandiz Joni: I have been a session hair & make-up artist for the fashion, beauty & advertising industry for the past 15 years. I started becoming acutely aware of how my job was impacting the environment and decided to start making BIG changes several years ago. It wasn't until about 2 years ago that I was exposed to the truth about this buzz word “organic beauty,” and my entire life changed. It was as if the light had gone on for the first time! I have made it my personal mission to work exclusively with natural and organic cosmetics, without compromising on high-end results expected in my field.

17 September 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Justine's story

Justine Jenkins: Organic beauty is very important to me, both personally and as a make-up artist. I incorporate as many organic products as I can into my kit, not only for clients with sensitive skin and allergies, but for all my clients to enjoy. My own bathroom cabinet is packed with organic beauty. Up to 60% of what you put onto your skin absorbs into your system, so it makes perfect sense to me to use products containing healthy, natural ingredients as opposed to products containing harsh chemicals which can disrupt our bodies’ natural functions.

16 September 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

Hemsley + Hemsley's story

Hemsley + Hemsley: Our approach to beauty is all-encompassing and holistic. As soon as you tune into one part of looking after yourself, the rest naturally follows. We take care of ourselves from the inside out by eating nutrient-dense, whole foods, getting ample amounts of exercise and sleep, keeping well hydrated and pampering our skin with chemical-free and environmentally responsible beauty and skincare products.

14 September 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 2

Wendy's story

Wendy Stirling: Back in 2002, my nine year old daughter (who is now 21), had an alarming reaction to a shampoo that claimed to be natural. Like most consumers, I trusted, at face value, what was printed on the label. The shampoo had ‘herbal’ in the name and clearly stated that it contained ‘herbal ingredients grown under organic conditions, with no petrochemicals’. However, because of the severity of my daughter’s reaction, I tasked myself with finding out what she had reacted to. I read the back of the label and did lots of research on the ingredients listed. I soon realised that, whilst the shampoo’s herbal ingredients may well have been grown under organic conditions, with no petrochemicals, the shampoo itself was full of them. The more research I did, the more astonished I became at what brand owners can include on their packaging. By using clever wording, they can make blatantly misleading claims without falling foul of trading standards or advertising standards. We now call this ‘greenwashing’.

07 September 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 1

A long organic heritage - celebrating 70 years with the Soil Association

Henry Chevallier Guild: Whenever I asked my Grandmother about the early days of The Soil Association, conversation would often turn to Lady Eve Balfour, an inspiring character whom Granny would often describe as a “true warrior”. It’s interesting to read The Living Soil now and see just how ahead of her time Lady Eve was. Many of her opinions on nutrition, the food we eat and the effect it has on us, whilst cutting edge in the 1940’s, are accepted wisdom today.

25 August 2015 | 0 Comments | Recommended by 2

Farming on empty – California in the 4th drought year

Marianne Landzettel: Californians are taking shorter showers, rip out the front lawn to plant cacti while in the nearby mountains numerous forest fires feed on tinder-dry brush. Leave the Pacific behind, cross the Coastal Range and you’ll get to the Central Valley. Over 700 km long, flat as a pancake, with rich soils, mild winters and an average of 300 days of sunshine, the Central Valley is the most productive and profitable agricultural region in the United States: California produces 97% of all kiwis, 95% of all celery, 89% of all spinach, consumed in the US. With roughly 1.8 million cows California is the nations biggest dairy producer. But by far the most valuable crops are nuts, pistachios, cashews, walnuts and of course almonds.

25 August 2015 | 3 Comments | Recommended by 5

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