Our friends at Karma Cola sat down with Chris Morrison, Karma Cola co-founder and avid organic activist to discuss organic week, why it’s important, and how people can start living a more organic lifestyle.
Why do you think organic consumption is so important?
Organic consumption is very important because organic agriculture is regenerative agriculture and helps repair the damage that we’ve done to the environment through industrial farming over many years. It also helps to clean up the waterways and provides healthy soils, and from healthy soils you get healthy food.
Do we have much of an organic culture in NZ?
Organics is an emerging industry in NZ and that's partly due to there being very little support from governments in the past and education centres to put research behind organics. In many countries around the world, governments pay for conversion from conventional farms over to organics which we don’t have here, so it really is pretty small at this stage. However in saying that, the organics culture in New Zealand is definitely growing and there are more and more people interested in organics.
Are there proven health benefits to eating more organically?
Yes I truly believe that food grown without chemical pesticides and herbicides is without a doubt healthier for people. Chemical pesticides and herbicides have been proven to be toxic and in many cases, carcinogenic. If you’re wanting to lead a healthy life then drink lots of clean water and eat lots of organically grown whole foods.
People are demonizing ingredients like sugar, and there’s been a big rise in artificial sweeteners. How would you compare two ingredients like organic cane sugar and an artificial sweetener? What is the best for you?
There’s been a lot of debate about sugar and I don’t think anyone would encourage people to consume a large amount of sugar regularly. Having said that, if you lead a healthy lifestyle with a good diet, regular exercise and little stress then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a little bit of sugar in a treat (whether it’s strawberry jam on a scone or a refreshing ginger ale)! I’m very sceptical about artificial chemical sweeteners as there’s been a number of studies showing that these can cause quite a few problems. There are some emerging sweeteners such as monk fruit and stevia which are plant based. I think these are interesting and definitely worth looking into.
Isn’t eating and producing organic products super expensive?
No. I think when we see the cost of organic foods we are really seeing the true cost of producing healthy food. Often we see food sold very cheaply through supermarkets and other channels but these are not taking the true costs of the environmental and health effects of not growing in an organic and regenerative way.
What are some simple and budget friendly ways that people can start being more organic?
One of the easiest and most useful ways is actually to start your own vege garden, plant your own fruit trees and grow your own herbs and sprouts. Also make sure you eat in season and support your local health food shops and market gardeners.
Why should business look to go organic? What are the benefits?
I think businesses should go organic because it is the right and ethical thing to do. I also think that consumers are showing more support for brands that are organic and are willing to pay a premium for goods that are produced organically. It’s really good for businesses who are interested in export as there is a huge demand in the UK, the US and Canada for clean green products from NZ, and the only true way to grow clean green New Zealand made products is to do that organically.
Written by our friends at Karma Cola