We are now firmly in the midst of Organic September. It’s the UK’s biggest campaign dedicated to organic brands and quality food, fashion and beauty products made to higher standards.
For a long time, organic has had a reputation of being a luxury product. We talk of non-organic as “conventional” but, in reality, industrial production is a far cry from our farming and craftsmanship heritage.
However, last year, in the midst of the pandemic and when the climate crisis was hitting headlines like never before, the UK saw the highest level of growth in organic goods in over a decade.
An increasing number of people are seeing organic for what it is intended to be: a way to produce the products we need, while respecting people, animals and the planet’s boundaries.
You know when you’re wondering: ‘Is there really any difference with organic?’ and ‘Is it really worth the extra money?’ Well, below, you’ll find the brands that we believe offer great value, as well as great products.
ORGANIC BRANDS: DISCOVER ORGANIC FOOD
Cotswold Beef is an award winning, conservation-led, family-run farm that produces top-quality organic, certified Pasture for Life beef from their pedigree Hereford suckler herd.
The herd lives outside all year round and are fed a diet of 100% organic grass fresh pastures, herbs, legumes and wildflowers, only supplemented with the farm’s home grown organic hay and haylage in winter.
Roaming across the 700 acre farm in the rolling hills of the Cotswolds, their cattle are mob-grazed. This is a technique of rotating them around the farmland. The goal is to help improve the soils, increase the diversity of wildlife and encourage the growth of their organic arable crops.
Their ethos is “food the way it should be”. This shows in the quality of their beef: nutrient dense, full of flavour and brilliantly tender.
ORGANICO | CUPBOARD STAPLES
There’s organic and then there’s Organico.
The foundations of so many delicious, wholesome and nutritious meals are pasta, rice and tin tomatoes. Organico know this, so find the farmers who are laser-focused on making the best staple ingredients.
Our go-to for all those trusty cupboard staples, Organico products are farmed in a way that nurtures the soil and communities they’re produced in.
And, of course, it’s a given that the products are all organic – it’s right there in the name.
FISH4EVER | TINNED FISH, FISHED TO THE HIGHEST ETHICAL STANDARDS
When it comes to finding organic seafood, you’ll have a hard time – wild fish can’t technically be certified organic seeing as they’re, well, wild in the sea and all.
Nevertheless, we’ve discovered some fisheries that come pretty close, so we think they’re worth mentioning.
For more than 20 years, Fish4Ever has brought the idea of organic values to fish sustainability with their truly ethical and sustainable canned fish.
They use small boats (pole and line tuna vessels and small day boats), local fishers and very selective equipment in precise parts of the sea to take only what is needed. Their tuna is sourced from an Azores fishery, which has been described by the International Pole and Line Federation as the greenest fishery in the world.
Conscious of how intensive farming on land pollutes river systems and coastal waters, they are the only canned fish brand in the UK to insist on using organic land ingredients (i.e. olive oil) in their products. Kudos to that.
SOLE OF DISCRETION | FRESH FISH, FISHED TO THE HIGHEST ETHICAL STANDARDS
Then there’s Sole of Discretion, a collective of small-scale fishers fishing out of Plymouth harbour, delivering a range of high-quality and delicious fish to your door.
They exclusively employ sustainable fishing methods which minimise the damage done to the marine environment: pole and line, using size-specific static nets, or using lobster and crab pots.
They ensure everything that gets caught can be used or sold so that waste is minimal.
Straight from the sea and delivered to your door. You don’t get much fresher than this.
REAL FOOD HUB | BRILLIANT BRITISH PRODUCE
If you love authentically good British-grown food, the Real Food Hub is for you.
Helping to make sourcing great produce just that little bit more convenient, Real Food Hub brings together a network of brilliant British independent small scale suppliers in a one-stop-shop online marketplace.
They offer a variety of produce, such as regional farmhouse cheeses, sustainably sourced fish, handmade charcuterie, organic fruit and vegetables, artisan chocolates, plus craft beer, boutique wines and British Spirits.
But, the star of the show for the Real Food Hub is their prized high-welfare heritage-breed meat from trusted small-scale suppliers who are passionate about their livestock and the environment.
If they are not certified organic, their suppliers – as a minimum – farm sustainably with minimal or no (chemical) inputs. The Real Food Hub sell mostly 100% grass-fed beef and organic and/or free-range chicken, pork and lamb.
HELEN BROWNING’S ORGANIC | PREMIUM, HIGH-WELFARE ORGANIC MEAT BUNDLES
Helen Browning’s Organic is named after farmer Helen Browning, who switched to farming organically at her family-run Eastbrook Farm in Wiltshire in 1986 – way before organic farming was trendy.
Their range includes fresh and pre-cooked beef and pork from their free-ranging, dairy-bred, grass-fed, British Friesian cross cows and British Saddleback sows, as well as a carefully selected range of additional products, such as fresh and frozen lamb from a friends’ farm in Buckinghamshire, turkeys and fresh pork sausage meat at Christmas time.
The farm is 100% Soil Association organic certified and Helen says:
“I see first-hand the difference farming my land organically makes – from more bees and hedgerows, to contented, healthy animals, to lots of people gainfully working here and enthusiastic customers.”
We highly recommend trying one of their organic bundles, which start from £20.
KNEPP WILD RANGE MEAT | REWILDED BEEF, PORK AND VENISON THAT’S GOOD FOR YOU, THE PLANET AND THE ANIMALS
Knepp Wild Range Meat comes from a pioneering 3,500-acre Knepp rewilding project. The project thrives and prospers through a brilliantly organic, harmonious and virtuous circle of life.
Multi-generational, free-roaming herds of old English longhorn cattle, Tamworth pigs, and red and fallow deer are the drivers of the rewilding project.
The animals eat freely from the diverse, natural landscape. This means they are exceptionally healthy, are able to self-medicate, and are naturally ‘slow-grown’. It also means they are not fattened on artificial supplements. As a result, the meat is denser and richer, with that characteristic ‘marbling’ of fat which gives fantastic flavour.
Their entirely natural diet also means the fats they put down are positively good for human health – high in omega-3 and CLA which is said to help fight cancer and diabetes, high in beta carotene and vitamins E & B, high in calcium, magnesium and potassium, and low in saturated fats.
COOMBE FARM ORGANIC | MEAT BOX DELIVERY
Coombe Farm Organic offer a nationwide organic meat box delivery service.
Based across 2,500 acres of land in Somerset, Coombe Farm Organic rear their own award-winning beef, lamb and pork. They also work with other farmers to offer a wider range of Soil Association certified organic meat. All products are skilfully trimmed by their on-farm butchers, before being delivered straight to your door.
While champions of Retired Dairy Beef, all their produce is full of flavour and with full traceability. They have a ‘head-to-hoof’ approach to production – offering offal, broths, pies and even tallow soaps – in addition to the more popular steaks and chicken breasts.
DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE | FOR ORGANIC WINE AND DINING
The Duke of Cambridge, in Islington, is Britain’s first and only certified organic pub, creating daily changing menus in line with seasonal produce.
With produce from Riverford, you know The Duke of Cambridge has things covered on the food front. So whatever you discover on the menu that day, it’ll be hard to choose wrong.
Their ethical and organic ethos extends to the wines and beers, too – which means you can drink just that little more without fear of hangover (although we’re not making any promises).
ORGANIC BRANDS: DISCOVER ORGANIC CLOTHING
BLONDE GONE ROGUE | COOL, COLOURFUL AND PLAYFUL CLOTHING
Fun, flavoursome and for everyone, Blonde Gone Rogue clothing is spicing up sustainable fashion with their playful designs. We’re talking colourful statement pieces, such as tops, trousers, dresses and sweatshirts, which are all fabulously quirky and full of flair.
Certified by both B Corp and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), it’s clear that responsible sourcing and the sustainability of their materials is a priority for their brand.
While most of their materials are up-cycled leftover fabrics (deadstock), the remaining fabrics they use are predominantly organic cotton and linen, up-cycled cotton – and they aim to move more towards plant-based materials.
VILDNIS | FOR DAY-TO-NIGHT ETHICAL FASHION
Vildnis promises a stylish day-to-night capsule collection you’ll call on time and time again.
You’ll find oversized tees, jeans and sweatshirts alongside modern jumpsuits, beautiful print dresses and statement cover ups, featuring bold prints, stylish cuts and an impressive attention to detail.
The brand is determined to disrupt the fast-fashion industry with clothing that’s made with respect for people and the planet.
Vildnis champions the use of sustainable materials such as organic cotton, Tencel and recycled fabrics.
LETICIA CREDIDIO | LUXURY SLEEPWEAR AND LOUNGEWEAR
Everyone knows you sleep better in posh pyjamas.
Leticia Credidio is a luxury sleepwear and loungewear brand made by an Italian-Japanese-Brazilian designer of the same name.
Credidio is heavily inspired by the natural world and all her garments are hand-crafted in Italy by a family-run atelier using organic (GOTS-certified) and sustainable fabrics.
RAPANUI | CASUAL CLOTHING AND ATHLEISURE WEAR
Rapanui is the ideal brand for adventurers, selling comfy, practical and stylish basics.
Rapanui’s whole reason for being is to eradicate waste from the fashion industry. For more than a decade, Mart and his brother Rob have been solving our fast-fashion problems.
Their range features a wide selection of organic cotton products – beanies, tote bags, hoodies, t-shirts, underwear, surf towels and more.
Brilliantly, their organic products are also designed to be sent back for remanufacturing which they make easy by offering free postage and a £5 credit to go towards your next purchase.
ABSOLUTELY BEAR | HIGH QUALITY MENSWEAR STAPLES
Absolutely Bear design simple yet stylish everyday clothing for the urban man: shirts, polo shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, jumpers, hats, backpacks and socks. Their range is casual yet well-fitting, inspired by British heritage, designed for city-living and made with respect for nature and the planet.
All of their clothing, excluding their knitwear, is made from organic cotton or organic blended cotton. For example, their sweaters are made from 85% organic cotton and 15% recycled polyester. Their knitwear is made up of sustainably sourced 100% cotton from Chenab, lamb’s wool and Italian merino wool and they plan to move to organic cotton for this year’s knitwear range.
WAWWA | HIPSTER STREETWEAR/WORKWEAR
WAWWA is a fashionable unisex clothing brand that sells a range of outerwear and streetwear.
Their contemporary style marries practicality and comfort with a trendy, cool edge. Whether you’re hitting the streets or the hills, WAWWA is a go-to brand for great quality understated wardrobe essentials.
Around 95% of the materials they use are sustainably sourced (the remaining being polyester sherpa made in Scotland): they mostly use GOTS certified organic cotton which mostly comes from India, as well as recycled yarn from Italy and recycled denim from old garments sourced from the Netherlands.
BIRDSONG CLOTHING | FUN, FASHIONABLE CLOTHING WITH ETHICS
Birdsong is a cult feminist fashion brand whose collections are all about genuinely original clothes. Think bright colours, edgy silhouettes and original prints made from natural fabrics.
Designed by women, for women, Birdsong’s striped dresses, block colour jumpsuits and hand printed trousers are made to be visionary and thought-provoking.
Of course we love everything, but since its Organic September, we have to shoutout their selection of embroidered unisex organic cotton sweatshirts and slogan tees, as well as statement Organic Denim pieces.
GUNG HO LONDON | STATEMENT CLOTHING THAT STARTS CONVERSATIONS
Gung Ho is a fun and flirty brand with depth. Founder Sophie Dunster is incredibly creative and fabulously collaborative. She works to raise women up with both her warm and engaging spirit and her feminine and contemporary clothing.
At first glance you see beautifully illustrated clothing, when you look closely you’ll find hidden messages of environmental activism.
Each year, the brand picks a different issue to highlight. This year’s The Worldwide Tribe collection showcases the issues surrounding displacement. Importantly it focuses on the human stories behind the stats.
The fabrics used to bring Gung Ho’s visionary collection to life includes GOTS certified organic cotton. Another fabric is Tencel, a sustainable fibre made from wood pulp which requires less water than cotton yet is softer than silk.
ORGANIC BRANDS: DISCOVER ORGANIC HEALTH & BEAUTY
BEN & ANNA | FOR NATURAL DEODORANT THAT REALLY WORKS
There are a lot of beauty brands claiming to be natural out there. As we wrote in our article for the Organic Trade Board:
“The most concerning aspect of beauty marketing is that there is no regulation when it comes to use of the word “organic” or “natural”.
[…] The only way to really tell if a brand is genuine, without visiting them yourself, is to look for certification, from a respected third-party certifier that insists on audits.”
Ben & Anna are off to an impressive start: their deodorants are certified by Natrue and their other toiletry products (shampoo’s toothpastes) are certified by Ecocert. The brand is also certified by the Vegan Society and cruelty-free.
There are a lot of “natural” deodorants on the market, but if you ask us, none that we’ve tried are as good as Ben & Anna’s.
HEMPEN | ALL-NATURAL, ALL-FRIENDLY CBD AND HEMP PRODUCTS
For those starting their foray into CBD and hemp: hemp is the plant; and CBD is a natural chemical extracted from the flowers after the plant is harvested.
Hemp oil is a great alternative to olive oil; hemp seeds are highly nutritious; and hemp stem tea is a delicious herbal option, similar to chamomile. You can drop CBD straight under the tongue, add a drop to your cuppa along with milk/mylk/m*lk or massage it into your skin.
CBD is thought to have many health benefits, like pain relief, aiding sleep and reducing anxiety or stress*. There’s loads of info on the web about this, and our articles on Hemp and CBD are a great place to start to learn more (even if we do say so ourselves).
Main image: Better Foods