Tuesday, 3 March 2009

keeping our organic heads afloat...

As a general rule, news is not considered worthy unless it is terrible.

It is easy to get depressed about the vast awfulness in the world as you sit with a cup of tea between 6 and 7.

Last night was no exception, but one particular story jumped out at me after being introduced by Sally Taylor on BBC South Today.

To paraphrase the report completely - will the credit crunch kill the organic movement?

This is something that both shocked and saddened me, but tugged at the inklings I had had for a while.

It is easy for people to spend the little extra for organically produced meat when we are in times of plenty, but when the belts are tightened, that little extra may be needed elsewhere. This I understand and sympathise with completely.

And this is the problem for the farmers themselves - feed prices have rocketed, demand has slowed and you do not need to be an accountant to see this little equation is not balanced. The report stated that many were considering giving up the organic tag they had worked so hard to gain, and downgrading to free range or similar.

Now, they will all still care for their animals in the same way as they always have, but something would have to give - for example the feed they have would not be organically produced.

I have another worry - the supermarkets have long been accused of dropping suppliers the minute they become surplus to requirements (take strawberry suppliers at Wimbledon time) - if we do not buy as much organic chicken say, would some suppliers be dropped from the shelves?

So what can we do? If you can, please continue to buy as much organic produce as possible. If things are tighter, consider eating less meat (which will save money anyway), and then buy mostly organic meat. This should help to level out the pennies. Even one organic purchase is better than none, so please do what you can.

Don't forget to support your local butchers and farmers markets - they will be cheaper than the supermarkets and offer a better variety of cheaper cuts as well.

It would be awful if this damned credit crunch made us go backwards with how we think about our food production - lets keep the organic movement alive.

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    I always buy organic and/or local where I can - not least because I have various chemical intolerances and don't want to add to the burden by eating food drenched in chemicals.

    I did notice in Waitrose this week that they had fewer organic free-range eggs than normal and the sell by date wasn't as good on them as those that were just free-range. This does not bode well.