This year sees Richard and Remke celebrating their tenth anniversary at Stowey Rocks Farm, growing organic vegetables for local people to enjoy. As well as being the tenth year here, it is the most successful, as we are experiencing unprecedented growth.
This is a national trend, as organic is firmly back in vogue with the sector having grown by 4.9% in 2015 while box schemes are up by a staggering 9.1%. Nationally, organic sales are almost back to pre-recession levels; while here at the farm, we’re actually up by a whopping 50%.
Recent studies are highlighting the benefits organic food has to offer, and probably have a lot to do with this change in fortunes.
Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition in February this year confirmed organic dairy and meat is nutritionally different from its non-organic equivalent. Led by Newcastle University, the study was the largest systematic review of its kind and found organic milk and meat contains around 50% more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
This follows earlier research in July 2014, which showed that organic crops contain higher concentrations of antioxidants and lower concentrations of some heavy metals, less chemical pesticide residues and nitrite/nitrate. “Switching to organic crop consumption,” we were told, “is equivalent to eating one or two additional portions of fruit or vegetables per day.”
It seems that the message is finally getting out there: organic is not only better for soil and wildlife, it is also better for our immediate personal health. So we enter into our second decade at the farm hopeful that things will carry on in this way, and that organic food will continue to get the recognition it deserves.