Sunday, June 17, 2007

Food fight...

The awakening food ethics movement has produced an oddly confrontational debate about which principle should occupy prime status.
Some may say that a food that is organic and a food that is carbon neutral are two different things. For some, to eat organic is a diet choice, and not necessarily a consideration of whether a food has been flown from Turkey or Thailand. [More]
Meanwhile the concept of "food miles" is searching for relevance.
Local food must be more environmentally friendly, they say – the distance it travels from farm to fork is shorter so its carbon footprint is smaller. Right? Wrong. Local food, per se, is not necessarily more environmentally friendly than that produced overseas. There is no reason, per se, that food produced in Kent has a lower environmental footprint than food produced in Kenya.

The concept of food miles remains easy for consumers to grasp but, in practice, it is too simplistic and we lose sight of a raft of wider sustainability issues. How does, for instance, the issue of Fair Trade fit into a concept of food miles?

And how can the food industry effectively communicate those issues on sustainability to consumers in a way they are willing and able to understand? [More]

Should industrial commodity farmers care about this tempest in a teapot? I think so - at least to the point of careful watchfulness. As the agrarian sector of agriculture develops its position it can command enough public support to affect the regulation of agriculture, making the the business of supplying 6.2 billion people with food more difficult than it could be.

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