June 5, 2007

I am so smart, S-M-R-T. I mean S-M-A-R-T.

The Guardian has an article regarding a new study by the University of Wales, which backs up my rant on Soilgate ’07; Nixon had nothing on these people. According to University of Wales researchers found that only 2 percent of the environmental impact of food comes from farm-to-store transit, the majority of, “its ecological footprint comes from food processing, storage, packaging and growing conditions.”

The real kicker, has to do with the label of organic itself. Speaking on local produce, Ruth Fairchild at the University of Wales Institute in Cardiff stated,

"I'm a bit worried about the food miles [debate] because it is educating the consumer in the wrong way. It is such an insignificant point…Those [foods] could have been produced using pesticides that have travelled all the way around the world. If you just take food miles, it is the tiny bit on the end."

Sooooooo…can I say I told you so yet? Don't worry, I'll say something exceedingly dumb later on to wipe the slate clean.

Thanks to Chow’s the Grinder for the tip.

June 4, 2007

No Organic Veggies makes Jack a Dull Boy

Chow’s The Grinder covers an issue which puzzles even my immense brain (known to move mountains and take out the trash with just my mind); it appears that our brethren across the pond in the UK are considering a ban on air freighted organic produce. Here is the Telegraph’s coverage of the subject, mind numbing on a number of levels.

The logic behind the potential ban is that air freighted organic vegetables are responsible for 11% of the UK’s carbon emissions produced by British food transport. Members of the Soil Association (which licenses 85 per cent of Britain's organic produce) have stated that, "Government research has shown that the environmental benefits of organic food outweigh the costs if it is transported by road or sea."

Sure, I’m not much of an environmentalist (little known fact: burning hundreds of tires does not help rebuild the ozone despite my original hypothesis) but last I checked organic referred to how crops/meat were raised, nothing else. Organic is food raised in a particular (non-chemical) manner; that’s it. The classification assures consumers of how food was raised and that they would not be digesting chemicals with every bite, a comforting thought that many people (myself included) like. While it’s likely that the long distance the crops have to travel do put strain on the environment that in no way influences the organic nature of the product itself.

So why am I so upset about this?

I am a big supporter of buying products from local vendors and markets thus supporting local agriculture, businesses and traditions. However, there are many items which are unavailable certain times of year, or in certain parts of the world, making global sourcing something of a necessity. Having an organic certification, guarantees how the food was raised, assuring a certain degree of quality, irregardless of the food’s birthplace.

I’m bothered whenever healthy eating is threatened by stupid political thinking. This ban would undermine the current inroads made to healthy and organic farming/eating and could potentially damage the entire organic movement. More importantly though I see this as an isolationist view, never good for a global economy.

I can only hope that common sense prevails; I’m already pissed off at the rising number of items I’m not allowed to purchase because they’re supposedly not good for me; I don't need inane politics getting in the way of enjoying a decent batch of blueberries.