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Sustainable Food Guide
Environmental Practice at Work © 2005 Link:EP@W Ltd Web Site


 Organic Issues..

There are two main concerns:
Farms now use vast amounts of chemicals, as fertilisers and pesticides, plus increasing quantities of energy, particularly fossil fuels. For every calorie of energy in food that is derived from the sun, between four and ten calories are added from petrochemicals. Increasingly, these artificial components replace the natural systems, including people's skills, for producing food. One of the consequences is that fewer crops are grown in ever larger units of production in order to make 'economies of scale'. The costs in terms of long term fertility of the soil and contamination of the environment are not counted. It is clear that this sort of farming is not sustainable as the resources it uses are finite and will run out in the next 100 years. The concern is that by the time we recognise the limitations, will the earth be capable of providing what we want?

2. Whether the food that is produced using so many artificial inputs is good for us. People are worried about the pesticide or veterinary product residues remaining in the food and in the relatively narrow range of nutrients left in the food.

'Organic farming' takes local soil fertility as a key to successful production. The natural capacity of plants and animals is encouraged to improve the quality of all aspects of agriculture and the environment. Organic farmers rely on life processes - hence 'organic'. For more about what 'organic' means - Henry Doubleday Reseach Association.

'Organic food' commonly means food that is free from artificial fertilisers or pesticides. However, the organic standards governing products claiming to be 'organic', also cover related concerns, such as animal welfare and being GM free.


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