Author Topic: Organic food: Why?  (Read 11928 times)

Regulator

  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2008, 03:43:52 pm »
The thing that annoys me the most about Organic Food is that it's not scalable.  We can't feed the world on organically grown food.  I think it's a sop to the middle classes who like to think they're being environmentally friendlier / healthier without having to change their lifestyles too much.

I also think it's a result of the backlash against genetically modified food that occurred in the early 2000s.  People had no scientific reason to not buy GM foods but a media campaign calling them "franken foods" but a stop to the GM industry in this country, without any tests and studies being done.

So, it's all marketing.  Stop buying it and buy meat and veg produced in this country! :)


Actually, you could feed the world organically.  What put pressure on food supplies is waste, growing out of season crops and the developed world's demands for cash crops.
Quote from: clarion
I completely agree with Reg.

Green Party Councillor

Nienke

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #26 on: July 18, 2008, 03:48:54 pm »

We did this one to death before.

Sorry. Didn't know that.


Quote
The standards currently set by the main British
farm assurance schemes covering beef, lamb,
pork, chicken, milk and eggs assure the fulfilment
of 4-7 out of 15 key animal welfare determinants.
This compares poorly with the standards set for
organic farming by the Soil Association.
The Soil
Association Certified Organic Standard, a scheme
recognised as having high standards of farm
animal welfare, assures the fulfilment of 11-14 of
15 key determinants. Standard British farm
assurance schemes cannot, therefore, assure the
use of high welfare systems of breeding and
rearing animals.

From "An Animal Welfare Analysis of Major UK Farm Assurance Schemes
Compassion In World Farming Trust
2002"


Didn't know that either. I might actually start buying some more organic if it's actually animal-friendly (although obviously not if it has heaps of packaging). So where is free range on this scale, then?

iakobski

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #27 on: July 18, 2008, 04:01:23 pm »
Soil Association certified organic is stricter on free range definitions than the government standard, so, for example, organic free range eggs will come from smaller flocks with proper outdoor access. Supermarket free range will almost certainly be less free (often by a very long way).

OTOH picking the eggs up from a local smallholder might be more free-range than SA organic.

border-rider

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #28 on: July 18, 2008, 04:05:48 pm »


OTOH picking the eggs up from a local smallholder might be more free-range than SA organic.

We just did this

We used to buy Waitrose Organic Columbian Blue-tailed, Much-Loved, Read-a-Story-at-Bedtime-Chickens' eggs.

Last week I got 6 random-sized very free range ones from the little farm up the hill.  The shells were thinner and they tasted watery and slightly nondescript

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2008, 04:10:15 pm »
Have you reported the little farm to the RSPCA on suspicion of failure to read the chickens a story at bedtime?  ;D

I've been getting free range happy eggs from the butchers' round the corner, which appear to come from a local farm.  These eggs are great - the chickens must not only get a story at bedtime but a nightlight and some soothing music too.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2008, 04:23:17 pm »
A local farm near you?  For local people, no doubt!

Regulator was saying you lived in the country, and so it transpires ;D
Getting there...

bikenerd

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2008, 05:31:52 pm »
Actually, you could feed the world organically.  What put pressure on food supplies is waste, growing out of season crops and the developed world's demands for cash crops.

Do you really believe this?  Water is a very precious commodity in many areas of the world.  Growing organic food uses more water and results in a lower yield (read the paper linked in the Independent article for the references for this).
Is it better to use some fertilizers and (especially) pesticides to increase yield and so minimize water uses per kilo of food produced?

On the animal welfare side of things: we always buy non-organic RSPCA approved meat, e.g. free range chicken, outdoored reared pork, etc.  Is this worse in animal welfare terms than SA certified meat?

(I'm genuinely interested, btw, I'm open minded enough to change my mind if concrete evidence is given.  Something the SA is infamous for NOT doing.)

Regulator

  • That's Councillor Regulator to you...
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2008, 05:36:26 pm »
Actually, you could feed the world organically.  What put pressure on food supplies is waste, growing out of season crops and the developed world's demands for cash crops.

Do you really believe this?  Water is a very precious commodity in many areas of the world.  Growing organic food uses more water and results in a lower yield (read the paper linked in the Independent article for the references for this).  Is it better to use some fertilizers and (especially) pesticides to increase yield and so minimize water uses per kilo of food produced?

That's a myth I'm afraid.  Growing organically does not require more water and it does not result in lower yields.  In fact, research shows that in the majority of cases, organic yields are higher, as the soil is better maintained.  If you give me a chance, when I get home I can dig out all the research on this. 
One example
Another example(I'll try and dig out the journal reference)
A third example

Quote
On the animal welfare side of things: we always buy non-organic RSPCA approved meat, e.g. free range chicken, outdoored reared pork, etc.  Is this worse in animal welfare terms than SA certified meat?

(I'm genuinely interested, btw, I'm open minded enough to change my mind if concrete evidence is given.  Something the SA is infamous for NOT doing.)

Not sure about this.  It depends on what level of RSPCA approval has been sought - there's more than one.  The most basic level is not much better than intensive factory farming.  The top level equates to that of the Soil Association.
Quote from: clarion
I completely agree with Reg.

Green Party Councillor

Craig

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2008, 05:48:12 pm »
(I'm genuinely interested, btw, I'm open minded enough to change my mind if concrete evidence is given.  Something the SA is infamous for NOT doing.)
Not sure about this.  It depends on what level of RSPCA approval has been sought - there's more than one.  The most basic level is not much better than intensive factory farming.  The top level equates to that of the Soil Association.
But are the RSPCA standards actually checked and enforced? For example, see this report on some of the conditions on a RSPCA "Freedom Food" approved farm: Five News with Natasha Kaplinsky

Maladict

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2008, 07:54:22 pm »
Newcastle University on naturally grazed organic milk having much higher levels of beneficial nutrients:

http://www.qlif.org/grafik/Organic%20Milk%20Release1.pdf

This was widely reported last year:

Organic Food Is More Nutritious Say EU Researchers

Quote
Prof Leifert told the press that the research results suggested that eating organic food was equivalent to eating an extra portion of fruit and vegetables a day.


clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #35 on: July 20, 2008, 07:29:44 pm »
Given the large amount of water used in the production of agro-chemicals, I don't believe the Independent article is independent enough.
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Gus

  • Loosing weight stone by stone
    • We will return
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #36 on: July 20, 2008, 09:15:28 pm »
Because I don't want pesticedes in my drinkingwater

Pete

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #37 on: July 20, 2008, 10:49:17 pm »
Well, we're still getting our weekly Riverford box delivery (vegetables).  We thought long and hard before going for Riverford, but although there are some food miles involved they do try to justify them all - and we take them at their word.  It does come a bit pricier than non-organic: I reckon we spend about £4-£5 a week more than we would do to get the same items in the supermarket.  And we do have to top-up with supermarket vegetables which are mostly not organic.

I was sceptical at the start as to whether there'd be a flavour advantage - but there is!  Others may not believe me, but I say the taste of their carrots especially is superb!  For years I've got rather blasé about spotlessly clean supermarket carrots as being watery and insipid, but these - which are supplied with all the mud on, but a quick scrub in cold water reveals the gorgeous orange colour - are excellent.  The nearest approximation is probably the carrots sold sablé in France (I think that's the word) still coated in soil.   But that's rare in British supermarkets.  Other things in the Riverford box are also better tasting than the supermarket stuff - probably excepting the onions.  They're having a bad year for onions it seems.

Some things that turn up in the box don't work out though.  One week they dumped a head of raddicio on us.  This was something we'd never tried before, and, try as we might (and we dowloaded several cooking techniques off the internet) we couldn't make it palatable.  We gave up on it.  Also we got a bit overloaded with swedes during the winter (I did get to like swede more than I used to, though, in consequence).  One or two went bad on us before we got round to using them.  More fuel for the compost bin therefore.

End of Riverford plug.   :):-[

One good thing about organic food business, it gives the Little Englanders in our midst something to sneer at.  If it weren't for the Organics they'd have to take it out on some other sector of the food business, like, say, fruit'n'veg.  Best give them an obvious target!  Bit like cyclists really: if there weren't cyclists around to be the target of a vitriolic hate campaign, they'd have to take it out on other road users, such as (horrors!) motorists... ;D

Gandalf

  • Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #38 on: July 21, 2008, 08:19:55 am »
All this talk of 'animal welfare' and comparisons between organic and non organic meat makes me die. 

Either way the production of meat is the most barbaric and wantonly wastelful means of food production ever devised.

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #39 on: July 21, 2008, 11:18:16 am »
I am very lucky.   In Rugby there is Wild and Free, an organic outlet, and every Thursday and Friday there is Dave's Wholefood Shop which is in St. Andrews Church Hall.    I reckon about 90% of what we now eat comes from these sources.   We get our Ecover products through these shops too.

Ten miles away is Garden Organic (Ryton Gardesn / HDRA) but their produce range has become more limited in recent years.   In fact, Steve who runs Wild and Free used to be the shop manager there five or six years back.   

We don't count the cost - no point really.   We have to eat.   Not using supermarkets we can't really compare price anyway.

Not all, but a fair proportion of our food now comes from local sources.  Even our organic milk delivered by Steve comes from nearby Leicestershire.   Our organic meat comes from a farm less than ten miles away and sold through Steve's shop also.

What we do notice is that when we eat elsewhere the taste of food is different, usually more bland and often missing something like a crunch of a carrot, the zing of raspberries, the deep taste of bacon ...   But then I guess we are used to what we eat.   

So why?   It's better for the environment, it tastes great, and it's local*.

* Obviously the banana sticking out of my mouth as I type isn't very local  :D

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #40 on: July 21, 2008, 11:31:14 am »
I now get an Abel and Cole box, but not because it's organic.  I buy it because it's low food miles (they never air freight any of their fruit) and because it tastes very good indeed.  Organic food (IMHO) has become another label for for posh, urban trendies who don't want The Guilt when little Jocasta is diagnosed with ADHD.

Apart from the gentle nudge I got from Liz, I also now buy Abel and Cole because it's reasonable value and it's delivered to my door for nothing.  I am fundamentally lazy and whilst I can be bothered to wash the mud off my spuds, I very much like the idea of not having to go to the shops to buy them.

Of course, I'm a TWINKie with a large disposable income and a taste for good, home cooked food.  If I was a single mother with a low income, three kids but time on my hands during the day, I think I'd buy Tesco value veg like any of the rest of my contemporaries.

If I actually bought veg in the first place.
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #41 on: July 21, 2008, 11:39:47 am »
Twinkie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Twinkie - a Golden Sponge Cake with a Creamy Filling. Organic cream? ::-)
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Elleigh

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #42 on: July 21, 2008, 11:48:13 am »
I have a local organic farm delivery.  I have a £20 mixed box (Fruit, veg and salad) every fortnight.  I decided to do this, as the food tastes like food, it is nice to have food that is locally grown, I like supporting local farmers and it is easy and convenient for me.  I didn't choose the food because it was organic, but pleased that it is.

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #43 on: July 21, 2008, 11:53:32 am »
Twinkie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Twinkie - a Golden Sponge Cake with a Creamy Filling. Organic cream? ::-)

Also known as DINKs  :D
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Elleigh

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2008, 11:57:51 am »
Twinkie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Twinkie - a Golden Sponge Cake with a Creamy Filling. Organic cream? ::-)

Also known as DINKs  :D

Does that make me a SINK as I am single income with no kids?

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #45 on: July 21, 2008, 12:07:01 pm »
I am not hung up on organic standards but use organic as a handy shorthand for produce that had been grown with more attention to taste and texture rather than shelf life and perfect shape. The same with meat, organic usually goes alongside better conditions for the animal.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

urban_biker

  • " . . .we all ended up here and like lads in the back of a Nova we sort of egged each other on...."
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Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #46 on: July 21, 2008, 12:09:04 pm »
Well, we're still getting our weekly Riverford box delivery (vegetables). 

As are we. I don't buy from them because they are organic. Generally the veg just tastes better and I like the seasonal nature of it.

From a food miles point of view it mostly comes from a farm which is approx 30 miles away - apart from the odd few items at "lean" times of the year. 

£15 a week for veg to feed a family of 4 doesn't seem a big deal to me.
Owner of a languishing Langster

gonzo

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #47 on: July 21, 2008, 12:13:43 pm »
I refuse to eat organic food, based on conversations with farmers who grow the stuff and people at the top of the food chain (well the certification managerial chain).

There's also the fact that pesticides to me are a good thing. They are safe (assuming you're aren't a pest!) as one of the lead scientists demonstrated when a journalist asked him to prove it, he got a carrot, dunked it in the pesticide and then ate it.

I buy fruit and veg from the local markets, meat from the butcher and fish from the fishmongers. I try to stick to seasonal stuff and generally ask where it's come from.

Pete

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #48 on: July 21, 2008, 12:14:04 pm »
£15 a week for veg to feed a family of 4 doesn't seem a big deal to me.
Just what we thought.  We're taking the next size down (£12.75) which isn't quite enough for three people, but then, two of us not being meat-eaters, we do get through plenty of veg.  The large box would be a tad too much for us though.

alchemy

Re: Organic food: Why?
« Reply #49 on: July 21, 2008, 12:57:16 pm »
I have a local organic farm delivery.  I have a £20 mixed box (Fruit, veg and salad) every fortnight.  I decided to do this, as the food tastes like food, it is nice to have food that is locally grown, I like supporting local farmers and it is easy and convenient for me.  I didn't choose the food because it was organic, but pleased that it is.


Do you get a choice of what you get or is it a mixed bag box of stuff that is in season/available?