Today's News - 11 September 2012
“Soil Association organic standards recently came out top in Compassion in World Farming's analysis of welfare standards. Of course there are non-organic schemes and systems with good welfare – conventional free range or Freedom Food for example. Shoppers looking for higher welfare food choices should certainly consider organic to be among them.”
Philip Lymbery – The Guardian – 11 September 2012
Letters: The health of organic farming
Letters in the Guardian in respond to Julian Baggini’s article (‘Why have we fallen out of love with organic food?’ 4 Sept) including Philip Lymbery, Chief Executive of Compassion in World Farming, who writes that organic farming does mean higher animal welfare: “The rules of the Soil Association require pasture access for cows. Laying hens are kept free range throughout their lives. Soil Association eggs come from hens that haven't been beak trimmed. Britain's organic pigs are not subject to mutilations such as tail docking or teeth clipping. EU organic rules require piglets to stay with their mothers longer, reducing health problems and the need for antibiotics.”
The Guardian (11 Sept, p.39)
Find out about Soil Association animal welfare standards.
Focus on the Right Kind of Organic Farming
Raj Patel, a fellow at the Institute for Food and Development Policy, writes that: “far from being a “luxury for the rich,” organic farming may turn out to be a necessity not just for the poor, but for everyone.”
The New York Times (10 Sept)
Letters: Tragedy of our disappearing bees
In letters responding to the decision of the UK Government’s “Advisory Committee on Pesticides” not to ban neonicotinoids, readers argue for the need to keep up the campaign if we want to halt the further decline of bees.
The Independent (10 Sept)
Find out about the Soil Association’s campaign to help the bees.
Green Party touts plan for Royal Bank of Sustainability
The Green Party used its annual conference in Bristol this weekend to outline a host of new policies designed to broaden the party's appeal ahead of the next round of European elections in 2014. The proposals have been developed by a wide range of green NGOs including The Soil Association and New Economics Foundation, and are expected to inform much of the Green Party's next manifesto.
Business Green (10 Sept)
The School Dinner Scandal
After Jamie Oliver's high-profile campaign to improve school meals, millions of pounds were pumped into improving school canteens and tough minimum standards on food and nutrition were set and enforced. Reporter Tazeen Ahmad examines evidence that strategies to improve the food served in all our schools are fast coming undone.
C4 Dispatches (10 Sept)
Food for Life Partnership’s* School Meal Policy Advisor Jeanette Orrey, MBE commented that: “Whilst there has been investment and positive change in school food over the last ten years, the programme has highlighted that there remains a huge variance in standards. Further improvements must be made to ensure that access to fresh, nutritious and healthy food is universally available.
Read the comment in full.
Junk food banned in maintained schools is being sold in academies
The Guardian (10 Sept)
Defeating the superbugs
BBC Horizon meets the scientists who are tracking the emergence of 'superbugs' - dangerous bacteria resistant to antibiotics - around the world.
BBC Horizon (11 Sept)
Read about the Soil Association’s work on antibiotics.
Pork Porkies – who’s kidding who?
Ian Pigott arguyes that consumers are overwhelmed and confused by different standards of animal welfare, and that UK farm produce is being undermined.
Farmers Weekly (7 Sept)
Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight
Soil Association licensee Sascha Grierson of Hugh Grierson Organic (http://the-organic-farm.co.uk/) celebrates Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, and talks about why social media can help family businesses.
BBC Business Scotland (8 Sept, 10.24)
Alzheimer's could be the most catastrophic impact of junk food
George Monbiot writes that there is evidence that poor diet is one cause of Alzheimer's. If ever there was a case for the precautionary principle, this is it.
The Guardian (10 Sept)
How can Scotland cope with China's salmon demands?
The Scottish salmon industry had a major boost after China opened its doors to imports - but with the government setting a target to increase salmon production by 50% by 2020, local communities are divided over whether the financial rewards outweigh environmental concerns.
BBC News (11 Sept)
There are new warnings that livestock farmers need to plan now to avoid a tough winter. Anna Hill discovers that following a difficult summer in Northern Ireland, animal feed stocks are lower than normal. Farmers are being encouraged to secure fodder now or consider selling off or even culling less productive animals.
Marrows, unlike so many other crops we have been hearing about, have had a pretty good year. Marrow growers are, however, facing a different problem - selling them. Anna Hill meets a Norfolk farmer with a bumper crop of the misunderstood veg.
BBC Radio 4, Listen Again (11 Sept)
And finally… America's newest diplomatic weapon is COOKING as White House signs up 80 top chefs to improve foreign relations.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signed up celebrity chefs from across the nation to cook special themed-menus for foreign dignitaries in an attempt to influence diplomatic relations.
Daily Mail (10 Sept)
*The Food for Life Partnership (www.foodforlife.org.uk) is a network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture. Together we are revolutionising schools meals, reconnecting young people with farms and inspiring families to cook and grow food.
The project is led by the Soil Association, bringing together the practical expertise of the Focus on Food Campaign, Garden Organic and the Health Education Trust.