FREE RANGE (TO US)
Organic Footprints will only stock meat from suppliers whose “free range” really means free range. We believe that what you don’t see when you pick up a “cheep” chicken, “lekker” lamb, beef strip or prize pork piece from your supermarket, is what kind of life the animal you are buying had. Even those that claim free range are not always really FREE RANGE. We believe in more than just a little free space and a teeny bit of sunshine. Our animal products are/have not been administered with growth hormones, antibiotics, animal by-products and are free of the incredible stress that the animals are put through for food production! Our animals have grown up in their family/herd units, out in the open air and sunshine all day every day as they choose. An animal that has REALLY grown up on pasture will also Taste better!
*Remember that Free Range does not mean organic so please don’t confuse the terms when it comes to meat and eggs.
Certified organic means the item has been grown according to strict uniform standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. Certification includes inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, detailed record keeping, and periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set. A true certified organic product is certified by an accredited certifying agent and is allowed to advertise as Certified Organic. Each Product can be traced back to seed source. Certification is thorough and expensive, however the farms that choose to go this route are serious about providing good clean ethical organic food on large scale. Any agricultural product that meets third-party or state certification requirements may be considered organic. Organic foods are becoming available in an impressive variety, including pasta, prepared sauces, frozen juices, frozen meals, milk, ice cream and frozen novelties, cereals, meat, poultry, breads, soups, chocolate, cookies, beer, wine, vodka and more. These foods, in order to be certified organic, have all been grown and processed according to organic standards and must maintain a high level of quality. Organic fiber products, too, have moved beyond T-shirts, and include bed and bath linens, tablecloths, napkins, cosmetic puffs, feminine hygiene products, and men’s, women’s and children’s clothing in a wide variety of styles.
This group of our farmers maintains and replenishes soil fertility and plant growth without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Their products are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food. Many of our growers in this group are or have been encouraged to not only grow food in the organic way, but also to source organic seeds or seedlings and to try complete the full cycle of organic growing. Many of these small farmers are not in a position to pay for certification, but it does not mean that they should go without recognition for growing food that is both good for us and our environment.
Prevention is our organic growers primary strategy for disease, weed, and insect control. By building healthy soils, these growers find that healthy plants are better able to resist disease and insects. They select species that are well adapted for the climate and therefore resist disease and pests. When pest populations get out of balance, growers will try various options like insect predators, mating disruption, traps, and barriers.
"Organic agriculture is an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony."
National Organic Standards Board adopted in April 1995
Sustainable Agriculture is farming practices that are done so with the use of ecology. The farmer integrates system of plant and animal production practices that will benefit the soil and surroundings for the long term. Sustainable agriculture has many spin offs for environment and community, and hence is the pinnacle of food security. Not only does it satisfy the human requirements of good quality nutritious food, it enhances the quality of the environment and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture depends. It makes the most efficient use on non-renewable resources and integrates natural biological controls and cycles. This practice sustains the economic viability of farm operations and enhances the quality of life for farmers and community as a whole.
Hydroponics is the growing of plants in nutrient-filled water in a container without soil. You can buy additives at most garden centers that will provide potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen, the same nutrients your plants would get from soil. Farmers adjust the dosages required in respect of the amount of water used in the system. Some growers add a medium such as gravel, coconut fibre or expanded clay pellets to the plant containers, for decoration or for added support to the plants.
Hydroponics allows gardeners to grow plants in a very efficient manner. There is no need for weeding, and more plants can be put into a smaller space, producing more fruits and vegetables than in a garden space. It also is very convenient for people who do not have enough space for a garden outside their home. Growing without soil also means not having to deal with many of the pesky garden bugs you normally would have to deal with.
The reason Organic Footprints believes in supporting hydroponics is based on the higher yields per hectare. In a world where world population and carrying capacity is a concern, hydroponics falls within the food security banner.
Can Hydroponics be classed as Organic?
A question we frequently hear is whether a growing system can be both Hydroponic and “organic”. The answer can be complicated and depends upon how certain terms are defined, as well as preconceived ideas on the part of the individuals involved in the discussion. When the microbial activity in a growing system is lodged in a physically separate location from the plant root environment, and the nutrients are delivered to the plant roots via solution, a system that is both hydroponic and certifiably organic can and has been developed.
This particular system is a nutrient film technique (NFT) hydroponic system that uses only NOP-approved materials. The insoluble components are located and operate in an environment separate from the plant root environment. The digestion system bears similarities to systems used in fish-waste digestion and some “aqua-ponic” systems. Our current hydroponic systems have yet to master this finite balance, but continue to work at it. Farmstyle Produce (see Suppliers) are well on their way to achieving their “organic hydroponic” status.
Garden grown just is it says this produce is grown care free and lovingly in our back gardens in PE. Many nature and organic lovers spend hours in their gardens cultivating food to feed their families. For some the passion is so great that harvesting the abundance of produce is as much pleasure as in growing the produce. Granadilla vines, goose berries, yellow golden nuggets tomatoes are often abundant in times of plenty, rather than waste, these gardeners distribute their home grown extras through us. Supply is obviously irregular and erratic but has that home grown taste which is worth the wait.
Produce under this category is supplied by any grower in the local PE area on the day. This category lends to supporting all miscellaneous growers and small farms as part of the Community Support Initiative. Product quality and size varies from week to week as it may be different suppliers each week. The produce is grown either in vegetable gardens, or on small farms or plots in the area. We also buy some of our produce through a reputable wholesaler. So whilst we may not have personally met every single supplier, we work in good faith that they farm ethically, sustainably and free of chemicals. Essentially these are our “up and coming suppliers” who are trying to sway toward the Organic or Naturally Grown movement.
NATURALLY GROWN / WILD
Naturally grown/wild is our definition of what consumers believe is truly Organic. These are crops that have been left to their own growing with no interference. Wild and free as nature intended. Lemons trees that simply fruit when they are ready, pecan nut trees in a field that just suddenly bare fruit, or the avo tree down at the bottom orchard that a grandfather planted that is now abound in fruit. It’s the old garlic field that keeps sprouting itself, or the gooseberries that keep growing like “weeds” but the fruit is just so sweet and delicious. No sprays nearby, no interference, just as and when the fruit abounds and blesses us.
Fundamentally Monosodium glutamate, MSG is a salt of glutamic acid and one of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins. Glutamate is in many living things. It is found naturally in our bodies and in protein-containing foods. MSG is a non-essential amino acid synthesizing in our bodies in two ways. In its ‘bound' form, MSG links to other amino acids to make proteins. In its’ ‘free' form, MSG is a single amino acid. Only this free form glutamate plays into the flavours of food. It is found naturally in virtually all protein-containing foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables and milk. Artificially manufactured MSG is a hot topic and regarded as a very “bad” ingredient in food used to trick the brains taste enhancers while causing distress and harm to organs of the body. Many marketing items trick the consumer by saying no added MSG, but this does not mean no MSG. Organic Footprints insists that suppliers provide food that is artificial MSG FREE. This includes related such enhancers.
Speaks for itself. These items are made by the supplier in their own home kitchen and not on a big commercial supply. These products take time and are often limited stock items. We request our home made products to be made from local and “good for you” ingredients. One can almost taste and see the “made with love” description.
By understanding the true meaning of eco-friendly, you can implement the practices that will lead to healthier living for the planet and its inhabitants, big and small. Eco-friendly literally means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. This term most commonly refers to products that contribute to green living or practices that help conserve resources like water and energy. Eco-friendly products also prevent contributions to air, water and land pollution. You can engage in eco-friendly habits or practices by being more conscious of how you use resources. Making a truly eco-friendly product keeps both environmental and human safety in mind. At a minimum, the product is non-toxic. Other eco-friendly attributes include the use of sustainably grown or raised ingredients, produced in ways that do not deplete the ecosystem.
Organic Footprints is committed to developing the principles of ‘Community Supported Agriculture. We believe that local wholesale growers need to get a direct supply route into the local market by growing products the way the market want them grown. By releasing them from the clutches of commercial supermarket chains, who dictate unsustainable growing methods for higher yields, we the consumers can empower the drive and free the farmers to farm more responsibly as many of them desire to do. This plays strongly into the transitional movement that we believe in. Organic Footprints has hand-picked a few products that we believe are leading this change.
LOCAL IS LEKKER
Local to South Africa
Organic Footprints takes a stand for Carbon Footprint. We really believe in supporting local. If a product is not available (permanently) or cannot be grown or produced in our Eastern Cape Province, we extend our sourcing boundaries to other provinces.
Local to Eastern Cape
Organic Footprints strongly believes in the support of local fresh produce. We believe that fresh produce should be harvested to order, and the time between “farm and table” should be as quick as possible with the least storage time that is possible. Because our food is free of preservatives and hormones or “food preservation” chemicals, it is vital that our food is supplied from local growers. This drive epitomises food security and sustainability