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The Organic Dilemma

The Organic Dilemma
28/09/2009

The recent conviction of the owner of a company who was buying ordinary food from supermarkets and repackaging it as organic has prompted a flurry of articles about the role and value of organic food. The Guardian has an article by Zoe Williams about organic food. She says the Food Standards Agency report has concluded that there is no nutritional advantage, there is no demonstrable taste difference and it is difficult to track its authenticity. Her conclusion is that as there is no demonstrable benefit of organic we should stop buying organic. She goes on to say that that the organic movement has appropriated for itself exclusive rights to concerns about the environment and animal welfare. Many people share these concerns without following every last chapter and verse of the organic lobby. This last point is also made by Jay Rayner in the Observer who reminds us that thanks to the recession, organic food sales as a whole are down 11% this year and vegetable sales are down by one third. He sees this as an opportunity for the organic movement to rethink its role. Rather than trying to get the whole of British farming to go organic (an impossible dream as organic is only 1.5% of the total) the organic movement could become the conscience of farming in order to press for higher and environmental ethical standards all round. This way we could still achieve the yields we need rather than importing food which has an added environmental cost. I’m as entitled to a view as they are; I wrote recently about the reduced yield of grain on Penlan farm. I’ve visited egg producing farms which are certified organic, one by the Soil Association and one by Organic Farmers and Growers. The standard of husbandry and animal welfare was a long way short of what I would be happy with and I imagine consumers think they are paying for expect when they buy organic food.

We had our “Dog’s Day Out at Pembrey Country park yesterday. It was a roaring success. Hundreds turned up and everyone seemed to have a great time. I spent the whole time talking to visitors to our own stand; I even met both readers of my blog. I didn’t get a chance to look at the other stands or displays. I even missed Steven Lindsay of K9Pawtrax who came all the way down from Dumfries to support the show. Steven runs Dogsport Scotland and he is a champion dog musher. He has been a World Champion Dry Land Husky Racer so he is the UK’s top man in the sport.

For more information follow this link: The Organic Dilemma

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