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The Importance of Locally Produced Food
1.10.06

The organic industry is booming! And because supermarkets are trying to keep up they have started to fly in many organic products from all over the world. However, is this not missing the point? Doesn't one of the aspects of the organic philosophy point out that organic food should be produced locally? Lady Eve Balfour, founder of the Soil Association, laid down philosophical strictures that to this day remain part of its gospel. One of them is:

'If fresh food is necessary to health in man and beast, then that food must be provided not only from our own soil but as near as possible to the sources of consumption. If this involves fewer imports and consequent repercussions on exports, then it is industry that must be readjusted to the needs of food.'

This statement should still be adhered to, but sadly today, it is not always the case. The Soil Association actually makes part of its income from certifying imported organic foods. Given that every human is responsible for 0.77 tonnes of carbon emissions each time they fly across the Atlantic, every cargo of imported food, wether organic or not, it is responsible for an awful lot of carbon.

Organic food regulations should take this into consideration. Patrick Holden, a carrot farmer from Lampeter, Dyfed, who is the Soil Association's director, worries about these things, and has said, that we must promote organic farming, but not industrialised organic production. We have to protect the philosophy of the founders and the principles, which is why, after all, people buy the stuff. Food and agriculture are central to the problems of climate change and the post-peak oil world.'

So why is the Soil Association putting its seal of approval on many imported organic products? Surely they should be promoting locally produced organic food and products, or at least from the UK! Supermarkets in particular are the ones importing many organic food items etc. So it is those supermarkets that need to be putting money into british organic farming.

Here are a few examples of organic food items that are being imported, and the food miles they have:

Apples - From New Zealand, a journey of 10,000 miles. A passenger fl ying the same distance would create 3.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide, almost as much as an average UK household creates in a year from the use of electricity.

Potatoes - From Israel, a journey of 2,187 miles. The British Potato Council estimates that the UK imports about 350,000 tonnes of potatoes a year, including imports during the UK season.

Prawns - From Indonesia, 7,278 miles. Prawns and shrimps are now farmed intensively in many parts of south east Asia.

Mange tout - Imported from Zimbabwe, a journey of 5,130 miles.

Beef - Imported from Argentina and sometimes as far as Australia, a journey of at least 7,000 miles

 

So What's in a Name?

A row has sprouted between supermarket giant Sainsbury's and internet entrepreneur Samantha Burlton over use of "So Organic" title.

So Organic, founded by Burlton in 2003, sells a range of organic non-food products, and the companies name was registered as a trademark last summer.

She was there fore furious to discover that Sainsbury's plans to launch its own brand called "So Organic". Burlton says she felt her companies identity and image was protected and has asked the supermarket to change the name of its brand.

However, Sainsbury's is refusing to do so and has itself applied for a trademark, although the process is yet to be completed.

Burlton told GB: "We think that right is on our side, as we had this name first and thought we had done everything possible to protect our business. We are taking legal advice at the moment and have had a lot of offers from specialists in patent and trademark law. It is frustrating; because of the relative size of the companies, it is going to be quite hard for us."

Sailsbury's has released a statement saying it "doesn't believe there is any overlap" and suggests that the "key difference" is that its label is for organic food, whereas Burlton sells non-edible organic goods.

To visit So Organic's Website - Click Here

I feel that this is very unfair and So Organic should fight Sainsbury's to the very end! If you have any comments about this or any other articles related to organic food and products, please don't hesitate to sent me an email and I will publish your thoughts and opinions.

 

Organic Food Growing Market

Wal-Mart, the worlds leading supermarket is entering into the organic food industry, and have promised to change the way Americans buy food.

Any change in the buying policies of Wal-Mart will have a massive effect on the food production and agricultural industries, this is because it is the worlds biggest supermarket retailer.

This move into organic food will hopefully have an influence on many more large food producers, like Kellogg, Pepsi and Kraft. And encourage them to expand into organic food production.

The companies Kraft and Kellogg have already started work on organic versions of their products. This move by these multi-national companies will help increase the amount of people who can afford organic food.

The cost of organic food is at a premium at the moment due to the improved productivity of the pesticides used by most farmers.

Because the large food producers are entering into the organic food market, it will drive down the cost of organic food. However, some think that the standards will also be lowered.

The Director of the US Organic Consumers Association said to The Guardian, "When Wal-Mart places a gigantic order, the wholesalers start to lobby for lower standards, and out-source to places overseas where the standards are lower or the labour practices are horrible."

Wal-Mart has recently acquired Asda as the UK's face of Wal-Mart, however they still have a very long way to go to catch the UK's industry leader Tesco.

 
Organic News Pages - Archives


Organic News Page 1:

Urgent Talks Regarding Global Food Costs

UK CO2 Emissions Rise Faster Than EU Average

Fairtrade Shopping Revolution in the UK

Organic News Page 2:

Organic Bread

Ethical Air Freight of Organic Food

Organic News Page 3:

Soil Association Organic Market Report - Organic Food Sales Soar

 

Organic News Page 4:

The Soil Association Organic Food Festival

Organic Awards - Winners Announced

Organic Milk and Cheese Sales Rise

Organic News Page 5:

Is it on the Label?

M&S Turning Green

Organic News Page 6:

Opinion Split over Organic Food

Organic Farmers etc Reply to Doubt Cast by Minister

Organic News Page 7:

Ethical Spending (eg. Organic Food) is at an all Time High!! And has beaten Beer & Cigarette Sales!!

Organic News Page 8:

Devon - Voted The No. 1 Organic County!

Soil Association at the National Fruit Show

Organic News Page 9:

Launch of New Similac Organic Formula Milk for Infants

Supermarkets - Organic Friend or Foe?

Organic News Page 10:

The Importance of Locally Produced Food

So What's in a Name? - soorganic.co.uk tries to fight leading brand for name...

Organic Food Growing Market

Organic News Page 11:

Have an Organic Valentines Day

Organic Food Catching On

Raising Awareness of Organic Food

Organic News Page 12:

Mothers and Babies - why you should eat organic

Local Farmers Markets Boom & Organic Food Sales Grows by £2.3 Million a Week!

 

 

 

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