Saturday, April 28, 2007

Low Food Miles vs. Organic

To me 'low food miles' are important. That's why we grow as many of our vegetables (organically) as we can, buy our meat from our farmer neighbours (who happen to be organic) and read the packaging at the supermarkets so that we, at least, try and avoid buying things that have come a long way. We’re not fanatics though; it's just something that we do our best to achieve. I'd favour low food miles over organic for things we buy at the shops.

In today's Scotsman there is an article about Scottish farmers having to import organic wheat from as far away as the Ukraine to keep up with the demand. Now you would suppose that this is because all animal feed that's fed to organic cattle or poultry has to be organic in the first place. Well it doesn't organic producers are allowed to feed them with a 'small percentage' of non-organic feed. Currently five per cent of feed for sheep and cattle and 15 per cent for poultry can be non-organic, but both figures are to be cut to zero and ten per cent respectively in December.
Why?

According to the Soil Association, who oversee the organic industry in this country, Scotland's organic farmers are in dire need of financial support. Given that green is the new black why have we heard so little about this? Probably because it will not win any party, any seats.

Given that there is such a huge growth in the demand for organic food (sales were up 30% last year) why don’t we concentrate more on home food production? I’ve never got this ‘stewards of the countryside’ malarkey that the government has been pushing. To me we should do everything to encourage our farmers to grow food and not to diversify. Living on an island, one day, we’ll be very glad that we can grow our own.

2 comments:

David Ross said...

To deal with increased food transport will require government policies to minimize the import/export of food and to promote instead national/regional food-sufficiency. Additionally any policy must reverse the concentration of food supply chains (e.g. Tesco, Sainsbury, M&S, Waitrose, Superquin, Costco - feel free to add your own favourite!) in favour of local shops and cooperatives run directly by farmers and consumers.

Blimey did you see that?, do 'flying pigs' constitute a global warming threat?

Reports commissioned by the UK government from private consultants cost the taxpayers £1 billion annually. Are they value for money?

Well, those consultants may have families to support and probably have a low carbon footprint.

Jings, there go more flying pigs!

Richard Havers said...

Has anyone ever seen a low flying carbon footprint?