We’ve been talking a lot lately about the value of teaching children gardening skills, but it’s important that they learn about other aspects around that too. Children also need to learn about where their food comes from, how it can be done organically and protecting the environment around them so that the next generation can continue to help foster a sustainable future for our planet. We also believe that a lot of adults from learning these things too, not only because they can teach their children skills they themselves have learned but also because we need to begin creating a healthy and liveable planet today and not just in the future. This is why projects like the Stroud Valleys Project are so important, and there are many others, such as the Soil Association, working towards similar goals.
The Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity that campaigns for healthy, humane and sustainable food sources, farming and land use. They believe that healthy soil and healthy people is the key to creating a healthy planet for everyone; whether that is plant, animal or human life. It’s a big promoter of organic solutions to fostering a “durable and humane solution to the challenges facing us”. It does this by concentrating on three key areas;
- Planning for the future: People should be able to live, eat, farm and grow from the resources that are available. More work is also needed on new solutions to tackle climate change, support biodiversity and improve animal welfare and fairness. They encourage organic farming; meaning no factory farming, no genetically modified crops and creating havens for wildlife.
- ‘Good food’ should be available to all: People should have access to fresh organically grown, minimally processed and fairly traded food as a right. Its ‘Food For Life Partnership’ works in schools to help improve the life and health of children around the country, encouraging communities to build healthier food cultures by growing organic food wherever possible.
- To enable and inspire change: The Soil Association also works with farmers and businesses to offer technical advice and provide the Soil Association Certification. This certification hopes to create and inspire consumer trust in the organic market, and by helping customers understand organic principles they will hopefully trust the product stamped with the certification logo.
The Soil Association continues to promote these three key principles through various campaigns and activities that run throughout the UK. They have recently received a £3.6 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Well-Being Programme that is being put towards their ‘Food For Life Partnership’ to continue the charity’s work in schools.
They will also run Open Farm Sunday on 9 June, where you can visit farms near you to meet the farmers who grow your food and care for the countryside, which is excellent for all the family. These days have various activities, mostly for free, such as viewing newly hatched chickens, seeing animals being cared for (such as pigs rolling about in the mud), farm walks, tractor rides and more. Take a look here for all the farms that will be taking part in the day.
One campaign you can get behind is the ‘Not in my banger’ campaign. This is campaigning against industrial pig farming; they believe that pigs should be allowed outdoors to enjoy normal pig behaviour, mother pigs should be allowed to build a nest and no pigs should have their tails chopped off. You can take part in this by donating, or simply buying pork products that have labels like ‘outdoor bred’, ‘outdoor reared’ or ‘free range’.
Supporting charity’s and organisations like the Soil Association is key to making sure animal welfare remains a top priority, children and adults alike are encouraged to eat healthy food and people know how to maintain a sustainable environment and grow their own food. You can learn more about the Soil Association here, and it’s definitely worth getting clued up on the key principles.