With Christmas shopping reaching its peak, Soil Association is supporting organic businesses by guiding customers to a more sustainable Christmas with a brand new online Organic Christmas Market.

The marketplace also features seasonal recipes and tips to enjoy a sustainable festive period.

In the first of its kind, Soil Associations Organic Christmas Market allows shoppers to skip the high street rush and source organic produce from the comfort of their own home. The Market can be searched by product type or by location, linking up even the most remote organic businesses with those who are looking for a more ethical Christmas in the click of a button.

Sales of organics, online and through box schemes, increased 11.6% in 2014 [1], which has allowed Soil Association’s Organic Christmas Market to capitalise on this trend.

This year also features an online 12 Days of Organic Christmas, with tips to help people make easy, sustainable choices throughout the holiday season, like choosing a Forest Steward Council (FSC) Christmas tree – or source FSC wrapping paper.

Clare McDermott, Business Development Director of Soil Association Certification said: “Our Organic Christmas Market will be the biggest yet, helping to grow the market and encourage people to buy gorgeous food and gifts that don’t cost the earth. We’re supporting our licensees and providing people with a much larger variety of organic produce right at their fingertips.

“With our online marketplace it’s even easier for organic businesses to reach new customers during the festive period. The marketplace is free for Soil Association Certification licensees to upload information to and we want as many businesses as possible to get involved in our 12 Days of Christmas on social media to help share the reasons why organic food and farming is good for wildlife and biodiversity.”

In addition to offering a new Organic Christmas Marketplace, Soil Association is also running its ‘Meet the Farmer’ series, giving customers the story behind their Christmas purchases. Soil Association organic farmers and growers across the UK are taking part to give customers an understanding of how organic can make a difference.

Juliet Holt-Wilson from Monmouthshire Turkey’s said: “We are a small family run farm that has been rearing turkeys for almost thirty years. We sell the majority of our birds directly to our customers and the Soil Association’s Organic Marketplace will be a fantastic way to profile similar and new organic businesses. I would encourage anyone looking for new customers at Christmas to get involved online and share the reasons why organic can make a difference.”

To top it off, top chefs and foodies are sharing their best festive recipes throughout the season – all featured on social media and the Soil Association website. Join in the Christmas conversation using #OrganicChristmas on Twitter.

• To sign up to the online marketplace go to soilassociation.org/Christmas

12 Days of Organic Christmas

1. Plan your shop
Save time and money by planning your Christmas food shop in advance and opting for higher quality organic ingredients.

2. Avoid the Christmas queues
Save yourself from the stress of your high street and source your Christmas essentials and treats from the Soil Association Organic Christmas Market – without having to leave your house!

3. Organic your Christmas dinner
Choosing organic veg means supports sustainable agriculture. Organic farms have 50% more wildlife, support more and better farming jobs, and cause less pollution.

4. Try an organic tipple
Opt for organic wine this Christmas and not only will you be supporting a more sustainable system of farming, you’ll also be consuming less sulphur – which is rumoured to lessen the chances of a hangover!

5. Make your tree extra green
Source your tree from a small-scale sustainable grower, or make sure your Christmas tree has Forest Steward Council ® (FSC®) certification – here.

6. Opt for high welfare, organic meat
If you want to be sure your turkey is naturally free range, choose organic: no system of farming has higher animal welfare standards.

7. Wrap up in organic cotton
Organic textiles are grown without the use of harmful pesticides or GMOs; promoting a healthier farm and environment. Look for the Soil Association logo to be sure the textiles are planet friendly

8. Be an organic beauty
Your skin is the largest organ on your body and what you put on it can be absorbed in tiny amounts. This Christmas look naturally beautiful and choose organic beauty products

9. Shop local and green – visit your local farm shop
The Soil Association has an extensive network of more than 150 farms across the UK. Find out where your nearest farm is here and stock up on your Christmas supplies from your local farmer.

10. Wrap your gifts in planet-friendly wrapping paper
Every year we use millions of sheets of wrapping paper – make sure yours is responsibly sourced by looking for the FSC label.

11. Caerphilly does it with your Christmas cheese!
When it comes to the all-important Christmas cheese, choose organic and put animal welfare first. No dairy cows enjoy higher welfare standards than organic cows.

12. Join the Soil Association
Become a member of the Soil Association today to support our campaigns for better food and farming, to stop wildlife-damaging pesticides for good and to give kids a healthy eating education.

Like this? See also:

• Grow Wild’s Lindsay Girvan offers some last minute alternative organic recipes to spice up your Christmas dinner

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