Happy Organic September!

Helen Browning - 01 September 2011

Happy Organic September! Today sees the start of a busy month here at Soil HQ. We’re putting lots of energy into making sure that the world of organic and all that it encompasses gets the recognition it deserves - across supermarket shelves, on our plates and in our bathroom cabinets and wardrobes.

As always, there is lots to celebrate: Our 'Not in my Banger' campaign, in response to a proposed 25,000 pig farm in Foston, attracted well over 5,000 supporters. The Food for Life Partnership evaluation has shown the fantastic impact the programme has had, including an incredible 45% of parents eating more fruit and vegetables. Our Community Supported Agriculture project evaluation has similarly shown a significant effect on the life, health, skills, and general well-being of those involved - with a striking 70% of participants saying their overall quality of life has improved, and our Apprenticeship Scheme is going from strength to strength - this year taking on its first arable and livestock trainee. This is to name just a few; have a look at the website to see all that we’re involved in.

There’s also an extra cause for celebration and reflection this year with the Soil Association reaching the eminent age of 65. Since it was formed in 1946, organic has grown to become a major part of our food and farming discourse, with organic products now represented across the sectors of food, drink, textiles, and beauty. A look at the winners of our Organic Food Awards or the different sectors our standards now cover, will show how far we’ve come.

This is my first Organic September as director so it’s an especially exciting time for me. In my role, I’m lucky enough to see the remarkable things people are doing on the ground to make powerful ideas a practical reality. Organic September is an opportunity to showcase these achievements so that everyone can see just what organic husbandry is really about.

Our new strategy is set for launch at the end of the month. At the heart of it will be ensuring that organic, great quality food is engaging and accessible to everyone, especially to those who will most benefit. It’s great to see how retailers, producers and consumers are already joining up to show how this can be achieved.

This Organic September we want everyone to take advantage of this opportunity to discover all that there is to love about organic, and we’ve made it as easy as we can to do so. Whether you’re a business or a consumer, there are all sorts of ways to get involved. Download our toolkit to help spread the word, tell our 20,000 followers on Twitter and Facebook about your promotions and events, take part in our competitions or tuck into an organic meal with your friends and family as part of our Big Organic Eat-In.

If you’re one of those who are already committed to organic food and farming, then we’d love to help you share your enthusiasm with others. For those who are just starting to dip your toe in the water, Organic September is the perfect opportunity to indulge in great food and conversations about some of the big issues that will shape our future.

Helen Browning is the Soil Association's Chief Executive, and also is an organic farmer - she runs a 1,350 acre organic livestock and arable farm in Wiltshire. Her sausages and bacon can be found in the supermarkets, and her versatile team also run the village pub! Previously Director of External Affairs at the National Trust, Helen is also chair of the Food Ethics Council and was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to organic farming.

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