What does it mean to 'buy organic' in China?
Do you opt for organic when buying fruits, veggies, and even other products made from plants like clothes and tampons?
Have you ever wondered what process products go through to be labeled as 'organic' in China?
Let's find out...
Over the past 50 years, China’s total GRAIN OUTPUT has almost QUADRUPLED. But the increase has come at a heavy environmental cost.
Currently, China uses FOUR TIMES more fertilizer per unit area than the global average and accounts for half the world’s total pesticide consumption.
The overuse of fertilizers and pesticides often leads to contamination of soil, algae blooms, and increased greenhouse gasses.
It also contributes to an increase in chemical residues in food and nitrogen infiltration into groundwater.
Sustainable agricultural practices and organic production is currently on the rise in China, thanks in part to consumer demand!
Between 2005 and 2018, the total area of CERTIFIED ORGANIC agriculture cultivation INCREASED more than 500% to 3.1 million hectares.
It all begins on the farms.
In China, for something to be labeled organic (有机), it must be produced at a certified organic farm.
There are various organic certifications, but a majority of these farms receive their certification from certification bodies, organizations that inspect organic farms, approved by the China National Accreditation Service (CNAS).
We decided to ask our pals at Goma Greens, Naked Butters and Luüna Naturals to help explain what this looks like!
ABOUT GOMA GREENS
We select the best produce from our local trusted farms, so that you and your family can enjoy healthy & safe fruits, nuts and veggies.
Our small local farms follow organic farming principles. Goma ensures food safety by assigning regular samples analyses to an independent third party.
Q: What should consumers pay attention to when purchasing organic goods?
[GOMA GREENS] Consumers should understand that in China the ‘’organic label’’ is expensive to obtain, so usually only big farms have the official certification. To support small farmers that claim to grow crops with organic principles you can:
1. VISIT THE FARM. Organic farms usually accept guests. When you visit, do you see animals, birds and bugs around? That is a good sign!
2. DON'T EAT FRUITS & VEGGIES THAT LOOK TOO GOOD. A few small insects prove the absence of pesticides.
3. BUY FROM A TRUSTED DISTRIBUTOR that analyzes the crops regularly.
Q: What kind of support do local farmers receive from municipal governments and organizations to fund organic farms?
[GOMA GREENS] Local farms around Shanghai are entitled to several subsides to promote the development of urban and modern agriculture and achieve ‘’hi-tech’’ production.
Subsides are supporting special non-chemical agriculture, soil quality improvement, certification of green & organic foods, pesticide source control and agricultural innovation through science & technology.
If you are on WeChat, follow Goma Greens by scanning the QR code:
NAKED拿颗酱are socially-driven nut butter lovers! Founded on the principle that healthy food can also be delicious, they strive to give their customers a tasty and fun experience.
The peanuts used to make their NAKED Peanut Butter are organically grown in the fields below their factory in the Sichuan province. Their all-natural nut butters have ZERO additives and ZERO preservatives - it's just nuts!
Q: In your experience, how have the farmers you worked with responded to the rising demand for organic foods?
[NAKED BUTTERS] From our experience with our peanut farmers in Sichuan they responded to it well, but only after the facts had been laid out.
Education came first to teach them about why it is better for the environment and our health to adopt more eco-friendly methods of farming.
Next step came helping them switch to using more ecological farming methods, and then of course no questions asked when they were paid higher than market value for products of better quality.
You can go to the village and talk to anyone about the new ecological methods of farming and they will tell you with conviction why it is much better for the environment and for our health.
Q: In the next 5 years, where and how do you see China’s organic agricultural sector growing?
[NAKED BUTTERS] People will demand more transparency in the way things are made and grown, whether it’s organic or not. The issue with organic products in China right now is people don’t necessarily trust products that are labelled as organic.
With a greater call from consumers for MORE TRANSPARENCY FROM COMPANIES and better regulation it will help strengthen organic certification.
If you are on WeChat, follow Naked Butters by scanning the QR code:
ABOUT LUÜNA NATURALS
LUÜNA naturals is Asia's first social impact period care company, led by women! We're making periods better - for our bodies, our planet and our sisters in need.
Through healthy products and taboo-free education, we enable women and girls to move away from traditional period products which contain harmful materials- that pollute our environment and are increasingly linked to long-term female health issues. What's more for every product we sell, we make a donation to charities supporting women and girls in need's access to quality period care. So girl, make your period better today with LUÜNA!
Q: When something is certified organic, what does that mean?
LUÜNA naturals are GOTS certificated, which is a TEXTILE PROCESSING STANDARD for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.
Organic cotton crop does not use harmful chemicals like synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. As a result, it doesn't poison the water, soil or air, and is even beneficial to the environment.
Q: To LUÜNA, what are the benefits of using organic cotton vs. non-organic cotton?
Organic cotton is grown using processes designed to sustain the health of people, the soil and ecosystems.
This is achieved by relying on natural rather than artificial inputs. This systematic approach combines tradition with innovation and science to promote a better quality of life for farmers and consumers alike.
Simply put, ORGANIC COTTON IS GROWN WITHOUT TOXIC CHEMICALS and GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
But actually - a conscious effort to grow healthier crops is maintained throughout the entire production cycle.
If you are on WeChat, follow LUÜNA naturals by scanning the QR code:
This article was originally published on Boomi Official WeChat Account and written by Olivia Plotnick.
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