Going organic in Andalucía

While Andalucía has been one of Europe’s top producers of organic food for many years, most of it has been destined for the export market, with very little supply, or demand for that matter, at a local level. All that has started to change over the past couple of years with organic markets springing up all over the place, more shops selling fresh organic produce and a clear increase in people looking for chemical free products. With the large supermarkets also weighing in with dedicated organic sections, the spirit of the organic movement still lies in supporting small scale, local producers.

A shift in awareness has been one important factor in people’s shopping habits according to Miguel, owner of Bionatura, the coast’s first pioneering organic supermarket that opened over 15 years ago. “People have heard of food scandals and can see the connection between health and toxins in food. They know that with organic food there are fewer risks and less additives,” he said. “If it wasn’t for the economic crisis we would have seen an even bigger increase in demand.” Bionatura stocks thousands of products reflecting the ever increasing variety and choice in the organic market.

Tapping into this increasing demand for fresh organic produce a local association based in the Guadalhorce valley has been building on the success of their organic markets and this year opened 4 more venues for their regular markets, including Elviria, Málaga and Las Lagunas to add to the already established markets in Coín and Cartama. “People know that they are supporting a more sustainable form of agriculture as well as the local economy so buying organic is good for them and for the environment,” explained Patricia Carrasco from Guadalhorce ecologico, the association behind the markets. Visitors to the markets, and shops like Bionatura or Biocasa in Fuengirola, know that they are getting certified organic produce that meets strict environmental controls, that support biodiversity and our natural resources. CAAE is the Andalucian certification board that has been certifying producers since 1991 and there logo appears on all products that have been checked to meet these requirements.

Vanda Lakatos has been running Biocasa in Fuengirola for the past 3 years and is brimming with passion and enthusiasm for her work. “The food we eat is the fundamental essence of what we are,” she said. “We literally are what we eat and we should be eating more organic living foods.” Vanda explained that not only have more people started showing an interest in organic food but superfoods are also becoming increasingly important (see article on next page). With more shops like Vanda´s and better access to organic produce the revolution is well underway for a more sustainable future.

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