With the country confronted by an obesity epidemic, climate change and a decline in wildlife, the demand to produce healthy food, curb greenhouse gas emissions and restore animal habitats becomes greater.
There is no simple solution to these challenges, according to environmental campaigners. However, a few lifestyle changes could help to provide an answer. One of those changes being put forward is a healthier diet. Organic food has grown in popularity over the years and advocates sustainable management of land and the environment.
Lindsay Girvan, director and founder of an organic home delivery company situated at Bonnytoun Farm in Linlithgow, says she was brought up on “home cooked real food” and believes organic produce is unbeatable for taste and quality.
She set up her business Grow Wild 20 years ago and now has a small team helping out.
She said: “I was working at Edinburgh University and I initially thought it was going to be a part time venture but it took off so I decided to solely focus on Grow Wild.
“We are a little, quiet operation. We were initially in Edinburgh but then we got bigger and moved to Bathgate and now we are situated at Bonnytoun Farm.”
With the charity Soil Association celebrating its Organic September Saturday, Lindsay held the business’s first open day on the farm on September 16. It proved so popular that she has decided to open on Friday afternoons to the public from noon to 6pm.
Lindsay said: “People who buy organic food want to see where it comes from and how we do it. The open day was fantastic. There were swarms of people who turned out and looked around the farm to see what we produce.
“My husband and farmer Ben Cadell took visitors out on the fields on tours. The children got to try fruits and vegetables and were chewing on bits of kale by the time they came back!
“They tasted everything they wanted and families were enthusiastic, and that for us was what it was all about. We have had customers who have been with us for 15 years and this was the first opportunity they had to come and see us. Several hundred people turned up throughout the day so it was a great experience.”
Lindsay believes choosing organic foods is beneficial to health in the long run and protects the wildlife and the environment.
“We eat the food that we grow on the farm as well. There are no pesticides used on the vegetables and there are no side effects. The organic vegetables are loaded with goodness.
“We are growing huge amounts of greenery. We have 12 acres of farming land and are the best of both worlds being local and organic. Wildlife is moving in too. We’ve got partridges on the farm, an increase in population of bees which is helping with the pollination so there is a real benefit to the environment producing food this way.”
She added: “We are seeing a huge change in people’s eating habits, 20 years ago customers were asking what is organic? We had to send out information packs on it, now people are asking what organisation are you certified by.
“Food safety is massive. People want to know what they are eating and how it is produced especially when there are health scares.”
Lindsay plays host to WWOOFers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) where volunteers from around the world experience what life is like working on different farms.
She said: “The volunteers come from all over including France, Thailand, Germany and Austria it is great because we learn from them and they can learn from us. They helped with our harvesting from our organic orchard recently.”
Lindsay and Ben attempt to get the four children they have between them involved too. She said: “Everybody plays their part, they quite like having both worlds – a week of school with friends and back here at weekends.”