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Organic News - 13 May

Organic News - 13 May

ORGANIC

Highlights from the BOOM Awards

Winners of the prestigious BOOM (Best of Organic Market) Awards were announced this Wednesday at a glittering ceremony held at Borough Market Hall in London. The winning products were as varied as they are delicious – ranging from organic wine to indulgent ice-creams, gourmet cheese, quality veg and ethical meat and poultry. Judged by an independent panel of chefs, restauranteurs, food writers and specialists, celebrity foodies and consumer judges, the winners showcase the very best of the UK’s organic food and drink industry. Natural Products looks at the highlights from the event. Natural Products (12 May 2016) 

See the full list of BOOM Awards 2016 winners

BOOM Awards Ambassador Anna Jones challenges misconceptions about organic

While organic food may seem like a recent revolution, it wasn’t long ago that all our food was naturally organic, says vegetarian chef and BOOM Awards Ambassador Anna Jones. Jones believes that Britain needs to re-think its approach to food, prioritising hands-on learning to change food culture and help combat obesity.

Evening Standard (11 May 2016)

Positive trends in the US organic sector

Statistics released by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveal the US retail market for organic products stands at $39 billion (approx. £27 billion), with 21,781 certified organic operations in place. Since 2009, the USDA has invested $1 billion into 40,000 food businesses and infrastructure projects, streamlined organic certification processes, created an online one-stop-shop for operators, and provided free access to market and pricing information. Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning said: "This latest market report confirms that it continues to be a very positive time for organic food and farming. The USA is the world's largest organic market, helped by strong government leadership including encouragement from Michelle Obama. The continued growth of organic in the US is mirrored in other leading organic countries from China to Germany. Meanwhile in the UK, the organic market is in steady growth and is set to break the £2 billion mark this year."

The Scottish Farmer (8 May 2016)

Read more about the Organic Market

GM

Gene editing falls between cracks in EU’s GMO laws

Recent CRISPR genetic modification technology falls in a grey area of Europe’s 2001 Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) laws. Currently, very few GMOS can be commercially grown in the EU. Because no new genetic material is introduced, experts have been debating since 2007 whether organisms resulting from CRISPR are GMOs – and so far, no conclusion has been reached. Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett warned that CRISPR can have unintended consequences by affecting genes that are not its intended targets. “The technology may be precise,” said Melchett, “but they’re precisely altering something which they only vaguely understand and barely see.”

BuzzFeed News (May 8 2016)

The Soil Association campaigns against GM

FOOD

A feast for spare

A ‘Forgotten Feast’ was served at April’s Institute of Food Science & Technology conference, made entirely out of ‘unwanted’ food, which helped to practically demonstrate how unsustainable the global food system is. Only 41 per cent of the world’s food is produced efficiently and cheap food encourages waste, said champion of the UK’s Global Food Security Programme Tim Benton. The positively-received ‘Forgotten Feast’ helped bust the myth that waste food is not nutritious and doesn’t taste good. FareShare, the UK charity that provided food for the meal, distributes unwanted food from the food supply chain to more than 2,000 charities and community groups.

Food Manufacture (6 May 2016)

FARMING & GROWING

Britain’s largest ‘Free-range’ farm starts, with mixed reactions

A 172,000-bird free-range poultry farm has been established in Kent, which farm owners says offers higher welfare standard and more efficiency than other systems, but opponents call the crowded, multi-tier sheds ‘high-rise urban living for hens’. Each the farm’s 850ft sheds contain up to 64,000 birds, stacked up in multiple levels.

The Times (8 May 2016)

Veggies in a vacant lot

Green-fingered Kim Stoddart writes about growing vegetables at a previously-disused urban site, working in harmony with developers who are motivated to accommodate communities and individuals. The gardens are not just for growing food, but also serve as a classroom, a community centre and a place for vulnerable people.

The Guardian (7 May 2016)

ENVIRONMENT

Remembering why plants matter

In a society that has looked beyond the simple beauty and undeniable importance of plants, the Royal Gardens at Kew are advocating for their preservation through its release of the publication ‘The State of the World’s Plants’. The first of its kind, this accessible report assesses what plants are on earth, the threats they face, and what policies can protect them. It comes at a time when academy study has shifted from botany to genetics, molecular studies and biotechnology, and when knowledge about plants and human reliance on them is lacking.

The Guardian (10 May 2016)