September is Australian Organic Awareness Month
In Australia, September is all about raising awareness and bringing attention to all things certified organic including products, brands, and businesses.
Garden of Vegan is certified organic and, as a collective within the certified organic industry, we aim to educate our community and all consumers about why choosing certified organic products is so important for human health, planetary health, and the future sustainability of the planet!
When it comes to healthy organic food and produce, look for organic certification logos and ask the following questions:
- Why do we use certified organic ingredients/methods?
- Why is being certified organic important?
- What is the difference between certified organic and organic?
And, once equipped with the knowledge, make a healthy choice and choose Garden of Vegan for your certified organic ready-to-eat meals, produce, and pantry items.
Here is what some of Garden of Vegan’s community members, health professionals, and certified organic farmers have to say about our organic farming, ready-to-eat meals, produce, and pantry items:
"September is Australian Organic Awareness Month, and for us at Garden of Vegan, we truly believe that by supporting local organic farmers, we are supporting our future health and the future sustainability of our planet."
- Melissa Phillips, Garden of Vegan Co-founder
"By buying organic produce, you're minimizing your pesticide intake. However, probably the more important consideration is the nutrient level of organically grown food versus conventionally grown. When a plant is grown organically, it will produce more of these phytochemicals. So organically grown broccoli has more sulforaphane, which has cancer-fighting properties. And organically grown soybeans are going to have more isoflavones, which are hormone-modulating compounds. We really should be aiming to get as much of our food from organic methods of production as we possibly can."
- Robyn Chuter, Lifestyle Medicine practitioner
"Organic farming is the future because not only are you feeding and regenerating the soil, but you're feeding and regenerating it for the people that live from it. It's not just purely about the obvious minerals or the obvious nutrients. There's all the micronutrients. The micro minerals, the enzymes. One of the biggest differences with our food is every customer says the same thing. They say, yours just sits in our fridge and just stays fresh. And I go, that's because it's a strong plant."
- Farmer Ian Willis, Sylva Lining Organics
"I think when it's organic, it's seasonal, it's growing the way it's meant to grow. I've even felt the flavours tasted different. It was just changing my relationship to food. And you know what? I actually started to see food as medicine. What we actually put in our body, it absorbs into our body and completely changes everything from the inside out."
- Lisa Mariconte, Garden of Vegan Customer
"I'm super passionate about organics. Aside from personal health, you extract your financial vote from this massive industry that is causing such a destruction of our environment. It's the only way that we can get ourselves back to a more sustainable, larger scale production of food."
- Asher Bowen-Saunders, Garden of Vegan Customer
"I feel so much better and cleaner and knowing that there's no oils. It's all, it's all fresh, it's all organic and it's vegan. It's like, it ticks all the boxes for us. Super convenient just to get into the fridge, know that there's a meal there that's high, like dense with nutrients."
- Alyse and Jacinta, Garden of Vegan Customers
"I've seen really positive impacts. I feel better. I have more energy. The food that I'm eating doesn't make me feel sluggish. And I can go out to the beach or I can go for a hike. I can go to the gym without dragging myself off the couch."
- Sally Kearns, Garden of Vegan Customer Service Manager
"It's healthy. It's organic. There's no preservatives. You can tell as soon as you wash the plate off, it just rinses off within seconds. And that says to me if it's good for the plate, it's good for the guts."
- Troy, Garden of Vegan NDIS Customer
"All the food at Garden of Vegan is highly nutritious, gluten free and oil free. It feels really good on the body. Another awesome attribute of Garden of Vegan is their alliance with local farmers. These farmers provide seasonal and fresh vegetables, meaning their produce is always super flavoursome and nutritious."
- Huia Faulkner, Garden of Customer
"I just felt this lightness, like I'd lost weight, but I was still the same weight. I was able to rock up the next day of training like I hadn't just trained, I'm getting real food, organic food that's in its natural form, and it's delicious."
- Travis Coleman, Garden of Vegan Athlete
"Garden of Vegan gives you an option to actually eat food that is organic, farm produced, local, and give me a healthier outcome."
- Tom, Garden of Vegan NDIS Customer
"I'm just so grateful that I started learning about organics and I chose to live an organic, whole-foods lifestyle. It was a choice that I made for my future health. My moods improved, my energy improved. And I just felt a bit more ease when it came to my mental clarity and how I was living my life. And it actually wasn't about the fad diets. It was about getting back to nature and eating real whole-foods and I just felt amazing Together, we can choose organics. We can increase the demand and bring down the cost. We can support our future health and the future health of the planet."
- Melissa Phillips, Garden of vegan Co-founder
What is the difference between "organic" and "certified organic"?
In a world where conscious consumerism is on the rise, understanding the distinction between "organic" and "certified organic" is essential, especially when it comes to making informed choices about the food we eat. Australia, with its rich agricultural heritage, is no stranger to the organic movement. In this blog post, we'll delve into the nuances that differentiate "organic" from "certified organic" in the Land Down Under.
What does organic mean?
The word "organic" means natural, free from toxic or potentially harmful chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, or GMOs. "Organic" refers to the way our fruits, vegetables, seeds, grains, legumes, etc. are planted, grown, harvested and processed.
Organic food production from seed to harvest, is based on a natural system of farming and caretaking with the main goal to protect, maintain, and replenish soil health and fertility without the use of toxic chemicals, fertilisers, or pesticides.
Organic produce is considered to be grown in an environmentally friendly, sustainable, and responsible way. Food as Mother Nature intended. Less intervention and more natural ways to plant, facilitate nutrient absorption, weed management, and pest/disease management. Through re-learning about natural and more regenerative processes and farming management practices, our local farmers are able to become less reliant on modern, artificial systems, products, and inputs which over time are having a devastating impact on our natural world. Organic produce that is produced by certified organic farmers will provide highly nutritious, safe, and sustainable food for you and your family whilst ensuring the longevity of healthy food for our future generations.
What does certified organic mean?
To become Certified Organic, a brand or business must go through a certification process through a certifying body within Australia, to make sure they comply and adhere to the ‘organic standard’. "Organic standards are sets of requirements that describe what practices or procedures are used for the final product to be considered certified organic. Typically, organic standards address various aspects of organic production, e.g. soil management; crop and animal production; processing and handling; and packaging and labeling requirements.
While the term ‘certified organic’ generally means the same around the world, countries might have organic standards that are adapted and adjusted to better suit their local climate, landscape, or traditional production methods. Where slight differences exist between standards, countries may negotiate ‘equivalence agreements’ to allow the trade of organic products on a mutual basis. They agree to disagree on minor issues, as long as they agree on the higher level organic principles and aims." - Bud Organic 2023.
What’s the difference between certified organic and organic?
As a consumer, you may not know that organic and certified organic are very different. Any organic claims, spray-free claims, and toxic-free claims are just claims. It’s not certified organic unless it’s certified organic. Without a rigorous governing body, you will never know if a product that claims to be organic actually is.
Owned and licensed by Australian Organic Ltd, the Australian Certified Organic Standard (or ACOS) is a respected and rigorous organic standard known worldwide. All certified organic products must be rigorously tested and go through an extensive audit process regularly, to ensure that every step of the process, from the farmer’s field right up to the store shelf, meets the ACOS.
Certified Organic in Australia: Going the Extra Mile
While "organic" sets the bar high for sustainable and ethical agriculture, "certified organic" takes it a step further. In Australia, certification is a rigorous process conducted by accredited certifying bodies that ensures products meet specific organic standards.
Here are some key distinctions of "certified organic":
- Third-Party Verification: Certified organic products are independently audited and verified by accredited certification bodies, ensuring compliance with strict organic standards. These bodies include organizations like Australian Certified Organic (ACO), NASAA Organic, Souther Cross Certified Australia (SXC), and more.
- Traceability and Transparency: Certified organic products are subject to stringent record-keeping and traceability requirements, from farm to fork. This transparency guarantees that consumers can trust the organic claims on the label.
- Regular Inspections: Certified organic farms and processors undergo regular inspections to maintain their certification. This ongoing scrutiny ensures ongoing adherence to organic standards.
- Certified Organic Label: Look for the certified organic logo on products. It's a symbol of assurance that the product has met rigorous organic standards.
Why Choose Certified Organic?
Opting for certified organic products in Australia comes with several benefits:
- Trustworthiness: Certified organic products are backed by a reputable third-party certification process, instilling confidence in consumers.
- Environmental Stewardship: Certified organic farming practices go beyond just being "green" – they actively regenerate soil health, protect biodiversity, and promote sustainable land use.
- Health and Nutrition: Many believe that certified organic products are healthier due to the absence of synthetic chemicals and genetically modified ingredients.
- Animal Welfare: Certified organic animal products guarantee higher animal welfare standards.
Garden of Vegan is Certified Organic and chose Southern Cross Certified Australia to be their organic certifying body.
Who is Southern Cross Certified Australia (SXC)?
SXC is Australia’s newest and most progressive organic and sustainable agricultural certification company.
"Southern Cross Certified Australia (SXC) has been formed in response to a client and consumer driven need for an easy, simple, service driven and cost effective, certification body. Our vision is of a certification body that provides you with peace of mind certification; that can assist you in obtaining certification to a range of organic and sustainable agricultural standards; and that these standards allow you to access a more diverse range of higher value National and International markets."
- SXC, 2023
When you choose certified organic in Australia, you're not just supporting a healthy lifestyle; you're also supporting a system that places integrity, transparency, and sustainability at its core. So, the next time you pick up a certified organic product, know that you're making a conscious choice that extends beyond your plate – you're contributing to a healthier, more sustainable future for all.
AOAM or Australian Organic Awareness Month is Australia’s largest awareness campaign aimed at promoting and educating about the certified organic industry across all sectors and categories, including fresh produce, packaged food and beverages, cosmetics and skincare, home and garden products, textiles, and pet food! Head to https://www.budorganic.com.au/australian-organic-awareness-month/ to learn more.