“[Patrick] Holden’s day job, for 15 years, was heading the UK’s premier organic food charity, the Soil Association, with Prince Charles among his green pals during critical years for British food. While he was in charge, the charity’s staff rose from five to over 180, and sales of organic produce in the UK grew from £50m to £2bn. But when he retired in 2011, handing over the reins to fellow farmer Helen Browning, he’d had his fill of that organic binary system where you’re either certified, or you’re not. He astounded conventional farmers when – on his way out at the Soil Association – he more or less apologised for an ‘us’ and ‘them’ system of food production. “Perhaps we have upset the conventional farming community by continually saying we were right and they were wrong,” Holden said at the Wales Organic Producers’ Conference in October 2010. “We should not be out there thinking and talking of ourselves as organic farmers, because that separates us from the rest of the farming community.” Continue reading
Tag Archives: The Guardian
Californians vote today on whether they want GMO-containing foods labeled as such.
“Monsanto and other agribusiness and food companies have spent more than $45m (£28m) to defeat a California ballot measure that would require labelling of some GM foods.
If it passes, it would require labels on GM food sold in supermarkets, but would not cover restaurants. It also has a number of gaping loopholes. For example, the law would not require labels on meat from animals that were fed GM corn. Continue reading
“….According to Brown, we are seeing the start of a food supply breakdown with a dash by speculators to “grab” millions of square miles of cheap farmland, the doubling of international food prices in a decade, and the dramatic rundown of countries’ food reserves.
This year, for the sixth time in 11 years, the world will consume more food than it produces, largely because of extreme weather in the US and other major food-exporting countries. Oxfam last week said that the price of key staples, including wheat and rice, may double in the next 20 years, threatening disastrous consequences for poor people who spend a large proportion of their income on food. Continue reading
“A genetically modified cow whose milk lacks a substance that causes allergic reactions in people has been created by scientists in New Zealand.
In their first year of life, two or three in every hundred infants are allergic to a whey protein in milk called BLG. The researchers engineered the cow, called Daisy, to produce milk that doesn’t contain the protein. Continue reading
“Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world’s population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.
Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world’s leading water scientists. Continue reading
“As reported in this week’s UK Guardian, Nina Federoff spoke about threats to science at a meeting of 8,000 professional scientists. The former Bush Administration official (and former adviser to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) and GMO proponent described her “profound depression” at how difficult it is to “get a realistic conversation started on issues such as climate change or genetically modified organisms.” I too have agonized over our inability to talk seriously about climate change.
However—and this is no small matter—by conflating fringe climate-deniers with established scientists raising valid concerns about the effects of GMOs, Federoff undermines the scientific integrity that she purports to uphold. The hypocrisy is astonishing. Continue reading
“Raw milk is hot right now, feted by fans for its “cow to cup” direct supply chain. Of course the milk itself never gets hot at all. Unlike “normal” milk, which is heated to 72C to achieve pasteurisation, raw milk remains steadfastly unpasteurised. Naturally, shunning the pathogen-busting work of Louis Pasteur it’s a controversial tipple.
But it is a relatively low-emissions drink compared to conventional milk (although it should be noted that all animal-based products have a substantial footprint). Unlike the 13bn litres of normal milk processed each year by three main processors in 100 sites across the UK, this raw milk is not pre-chilled, siloed, separated, homogenised, pasteurised and refrigerated before being trucked to retailers.
“Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.
Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon –bees “entombing” or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighbouring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees. Continue reading