I love cooking with fresh organic ingredients because it’s food as it should be. When I eat organic, it makes me feel good knowing it’s good for the animals and good for the planet - fewer pesticides, always free range and no artificial colours and preservatives.
I think we now have much more of an emotional connection with our food; it’s no longer just about the taste, it’s also about knowing the story behind it and how it has been produced - whether you’re buying from your local butcher, supermarket or having an organic veg box delivered.
It’s the start of Organic. Feed Your Happy, and Organic September, a month dedicated to encouraging people to buy more organic food – so if you fancy exploring organic it’s a great time to learn more about how food is produced and to take advantage of amazing offers and promotions in store and online.
Here’s why I choose to eat organic:
- Animal welfare: Eating organic meat is my way of respecting animal welfare. I know it means the animals have been reared free range, with the highest possible welfare standards, treated with respect, and have enjoyed the best life possible. And I choose organic eggs for the same reasons.
- Good for the environment. I think it’s important to understand how the way we shop, cook and eat effects the world around us, as well as our own health. Farmers really look after the soil, and so by the time the food they produce gets to me I think it’s a more conscious way of cooking and eating and that’s important to me as a food writer and cook.
- Connection between food and land: I grew up eating vegetables that my dad grew himself in the vegetable patch, so in that sense I always had a clear idea about the connection between food and the land. But the more I’ve learned and read about cooking and the food system, the more I’ve realised how important our choices as cooks and eaters are to the planet.
- Traceability: I like to know where my food comes from, and how the raw ingredients I use have been produced. Organic ingredients are fully traceable, so if you want to you can find out exactly where your food has been produced.
- Fewer pesticides. What I put in my body is important to me, so knowing that organic famers use less pesticides gets a massive tick from me. And because the fruit and veg are grown more slowly, and in harmony with nature, it’s real food that’s full of flavour and I think tastier too.
- Working with nature: As well as treating animals well and letting them roam freely, organic farms are also a haven for wildlife. The fertile soils promote biodiversity, providing homes for bees and butterflies.
- Brilliant ingredients. I love having seasonal, fresh and delicious ingredients to cook with. It doesn’t matter whether I’m cooking up a familiar food or trying out some exciting new ideas. I’ve certainly got my go to happy foods, on a weekend when I’ve got a bit more time for breakfast I like some avocado on sourdough toast with organic poached eggs and rose harissa mixed with organic yoghurt for a chilli kick.
- Shopping locally: I like supporting my local independent shops, which is also a good way to explore new ideas. It’s so exciting to see lots of different varieties of organic produce, and I love finding an unusual organic product.
- Not always expensive. You may think that organic is expensive, but it’s not always. Of course it’s also about what you value. I shop with what my budget allows, and choose the items that matter to me most. I love a roast chicken and I know I can make a risotto or a curry and some soup from it afterwards, so I really can get great value from it. You might like to choose just one or two items to add to your basket – so choose what’s important to you.
- Keep it simple: I love cooking for friends and family, but I want to join in the fun and not be a slave to the kitchen, so I love quick and delicious meals, and that’s all about the best tasting organic ingredients, from fresh tasty herbs, to tomatoes and big salads. I don’t want to mess around and over-complicate things, I love food that you can really taste.
Cook and food writer Rosie Birkett is an ambassador for Organic. Feed Your Happy, a campaign to celebrate and share the unadulterated joy of organic food – when you eat organic, it feeds your happy - fewer pesticides, always free range and no artificial colours and preservatives.
Rosie recently helped DJ and radio presenter Sara Cox create her happiest meal, made with her favourite foods from some of the UK’s leading organic producers. Watch the film here: Sara Cox. Organic. Feed Your Happy.
Rosie is encouraging the nation to join in and share their favourite organic foods and meals at #FeedYourHappy