Interesting article from the other side of the organic debate

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I am on a periodic newsletter geared toward large farming. I thought this was interesting. Whine, whine, whine. Darn it all why should we big farmers have to serve the consumer. We shouldn't have to worry about them!

Little Bit Farm

ORGANIC FOOD PRICE REPORT SILENCED January 20, 2002 Independent Robert Mendick http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/environment/story.jsp?story=115439 Via AgBioView at www.agbioworld.org The Soil Association, the body responsible for promoting organic food in the UK, has, according to this story, suppressed a report accusing Britain's leading supermarkets of overcharging for organic goods. The study advises consumers to buy organic produce at farm shops, farmers' markets or through an organic "box scheme". Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, was cited as admitting yesterday that he ordered the report to be withdrawn from the organisation's magazine because it sent out the wrong message by effectively encouraging supermarkets to lower their prices, which would squeeze organic producers' profits and threatening them with bankruptcy. But Dr Anna Ross, senior economist with the University of the West of England and author of the study, was cited as accussing the Soil Association of being "too busy trying not to upset the supermarkets." The story says that in her study, Dr Ross claims supermarkets are the "most expensive of all organic food retailers" with "the smallest range of fresh produce". According to her research, a basket of vegetables bought in a sample of farm shops was 63 per cent more expensive in Tesco; 59 per cent more expensive in Sainsbury's; and 38 per cent more expensive in Waitrose. Organic meat, she said, was on average 64 per cent higher in supermarkets than in local farmers' markets. Some of the findings were due to be published in the coming issue of the Soil Association's quarterly magazine, Living Earth. But its message would have contradicted the main message of the association's annual conference, due to take place in Harrogate this week, which will call for a sea-change in society's attitude to food pricing. Mr Holden, wants to get across the message that "as a society we pay too little for our food." Organic food is big business for supermarkets. Tesco, says Dr Ross's report, has announced plans to increase sales of organic food to 1bn in five years, while Asda has said it wants to get organic food prices down to the levels of non-organic. Mr Holden said the report would only encourage the supermarkets to try to trim costs even further.

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@farm.com), February 23, 2002

Answers

I think that the label "organic" is mis used and misunderstood. All Organic means is that "it" was or is alive, consisting of animal or vegetable origins. If you want to get technical this includes anything based on Carbon. I am with you Little Bit, people can choose what they want to buy. It is not your job to worry about that. You just produce the best product you can and try to make a living. People sometimes forget that there is a reason why different things are now incorporated into foods that were not added before. These additives are sometimes a good thing. They help prevent food poisoning and spoilage and while nothing man has divised has ever elimated rodent contamination, at least it is kept to what we call "acceptable" limits. If you want foods with no additives and unprocessed, well, that's where homesteading is so helpful, we can raise our own. Our family doctor likes to say "If man made it, don't eat it! " LOL Keep on slugging! LQ

-- Little Quacker (carouselxing@juno.com), February 23, 2002.

Here, here. I'm glad someone finally said something about this subject.

-- al (yr2012@hotmail.com), February 23, 2002.

The problem is when the corporate farming community uses unfair advantage to muscle aside the public's desire for good food. All the additives in food are neither acceptable nor helpful. The question here is, if the food is contaminated with what kills the rats, should a human eat it? If you want to see what this stuff does, try feeding it to your farm animals. Obviously, that is a very quick way to lose a substantial investment. People want clean food. The corporate farmers know that they do, so they try to hide chemicals and genetically altered materials in the food, and then pressure lawmakers into making it illegal to say that the food is contaminated. This is the only reason that people are eating all the genetically altered corn and soybean materials they are. If it was on the box that they were being made guinea pigs for the federal government, there is no way the farmers producing this stuff could survive. McDonalds realized this and that is why there was significant movement on their part to remove genetically altered potatoes from their restaurants.

The market should be controlled by the consumer, but this article shows that it is NOT. It is very clear here that the corporate farmer views the consumer as just a small bump in his road to wealth and power. I mean how dare those supermarkets have the nerve to ask for organic food!! While it would be good for consumers to buy food at a fair price. This story is more about trying to divide the organic community. Coming from a family of large farmers, I know how much it offends the sensibilities of chemical/genetically modified dependent farmers that the public is willing to pay more for pure food. There are two layers to this story. The first one being the obvious supposed difference in farmers market versus supermarket prices. The second is a subtle dig into the side of organic producers. Never mind that when you compare the direct sale of both traditional chemically treated food to the supermarket, the price directly from the farmer is almost always less also. But somehow in this article the organic super markets are somehow more of a rip off than their chemical counterparts? The truth is that the supermarket price for just about anything is higher simply because there are more people in between food and market.

Little Bit Farm

-- Little bit Farm (littlebit@farm.com), February 23, 2002.


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