Monday, July 16, 2007

Low Food Miles on the Big Green Bus

The low food miles vs. organic continues apace with the news that the UK's Soil Association is organizing a debate in London this week on the question of importing organic foodstuffs from Africa. The SA want to hear views on the issue between now and September, when it may decide to call for a limited or total ban. A ban could mean labelling airfreighted products so that they effectively lost their organic status due to their 'food miles.' It's been suggested that this could destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of smallholders across Africa.

Others suggest that this will force farmers and those that rely on farming into poverty. Organic produce is the fastest growth area of Africa's horticultural industry, together with cut flowers and other high-value products like dried herbs and essential oils. In Kenya, earnings from horticulture are second only to those from tourism. The story is much the same in Ethiopia, and Uganda.

Our 24/7 mentality is what is diving this seemingly insatiable demand for every fruit and vegetable to be available every hour of every day. Where's the fun in that. If only we lived a little more by the seasons then there would be less of a problem. Not less of a problem though for the supermarkets.

Can this ever be fixed? Doubtful. We in the developed world have become so dependent on the consumer culture that it is inconceivable that this will change. The Soil Association may well introduce such a labelling scheme and as the farmers in Africa say they will be the losers. Customers will simply switch back to non-organic produce. We live in a cake and eat it society with little or no regard to what it does to others. Of course our politicians will fill the air with their empty rhetoric keen to prove they're the driver/conductor of the big green bus

1 comment:

Lord Straf-Bilderberg said...

...Our 24/7 mentality is what is diving this seemingly insatiable demand for every fruit and vegetable to be available every hour of every day...

Exactly. A fine post on the issue.