VEGA News Item

VEGA Comments on Air Freight and Organic Food - 01/10/2007
Soil Association consultation and VEGA's response.

Consultation on Air Freight and Organic Food

1. Some fundamental issues have to be faced.

1.1 The traditional assumption that we can still colonize ghost acres at latitudes to which we are essentially attuned. We have to assess how well we have adapted to the diaspora of our ancestors from the Garden of Eden and how well we have adjusted to the seasonality of more northern latitudes and the consequences in the Horn v Corn balance in harvests and reproduction. In a way it’s us who should move to the sources, not just on brief holidays, rather than transport food for all seasons from lower latitudes.

1.2 Redress for the embarrassment of food miles must be measured against the inputs needed to overcome the effects of seasonality that must be set against the cost of food miles and the common good, for which many alternatives partially overcome the difficulties. However, we are only just beginning to be able to maintain supplies of British-grown carrots throughout the whole year. The present demand for increased consumption of fruit and veg imposes big challenges in this context.

1.3 Return of composting materials in areas whence the British public has enjoyed the usufruct of Mediterranean climes raise the need for sending cargos on muck miles to replenish the orchards and groves we have mined and depleted for supplies of tomatoes and other fruits from the sunny south. A return of pig shit from intensive farms in northern Europe to be dumped on land in Morocco, from where, say, organic oranges are derived, is unlikely to be received as a due gesture of magnanimity in the expression of crap kilometers.


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