Organic, Local, Ethical
We are first and foremost an organic business.
The international definition of organic is that it’s ‘an agricultural production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved’. (www.ifoam.bio).
In short, it’s a system the focuses on working in harmony with nature, concentrating on leaving things out of the soil rather than putting things in. It has the highest animal welfare standards and is robustly controlled and audited. See www.soilassociation.org for details, research, inspiration and how to get involved.
In the UK the main certification body is the Soil Association, in Europe, it’s part of the EU Commission (leaf lofo) and in the USA, its USDA-Organic (there are other certification bodies, but these are the ones you’ll most often see on products).
Local means different things for different products, and changes to some extent throughout the year, depending on seasonality and availability.
Products normally fall into the following categories:
Around Bristol – We’re proud to support dozens of local suppliers withing touching distance of our stores, and continue to build relationships with local producers, farmers, growers and makers. Good examples of this include The Community Farm, Grow Bristol, Happy Hollistics and Nutcessity.
Everywhere else – As some products are unavailable locally, regionally or even in the UK, we have to source them from further afield, taking into account the impact upon fair trade, well being and the environment. For example, we stock rape seed oil as an alternative to imported olive oil, and we stock soya milk made from European crops instead of those from the Americas.
We won’t stock anything unless we’re happy with its origin, and at times this has meant we’ve delisted products and brands when they have been acquired by organisations that don’t chime with our values.
We’re also interested in the production methods and values of a product that may not be certified organic. It may be that it has Fairtrade (or similar) certification. We often find that initiatives that look after people also tend to care for the land, as part of their care for workers health and safety.