Organic Food

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Organic Food is food produced without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, and (where livestock are concerned) by breeding and rearing animals and birds with due regard to their welfare and by methods which can be described as ‘natural and traditional’. In the case of bio-dynamic foods, influenced by the teaching of Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), other belief-systems may be involved over and above mere pursuit of traditional methods. In England, the movement gained its initial impetus from the work of people such as Sir Albert Howard and Lady Eve Balfour in the 1930s, culminating in the foundation of the Soil Association in 1946, now the chief certification body in Britain. Similar organizations exist in other countries while through much of the developed world the state has also intervened, not to support organic agriculture so much as to define and regulate the misuse of the organic label.