Posts Tagged ‘pig business’

Curing a Mad, Mad world with Food

I think most people agree we live in a mad world. 10% of the worlds population owns 85% of total assets, over 3 billion people (nearly half the world) live on less that $2.50 per day, and in the UK milk is cheaper than water in some shops.

People are starving when, according to expert Colin Trudge; ‘everyone who is ever liable to be born could be well fed, forever, not simply on basic provender but to the highest standards of nutrition and gastronomy.’

I strongly recommend you read his article ‘Feeding people is easy

According to Colin; ‘If we get the food right then everything else that we need and want in life—good health, fine landscapes, the company of other species, peace, amity, personal fulfilment can start to fall into place.’

Wow, his article certainly makes sense and with facts like; ‘We currently feed well over half the staples that could be feeding us, to cattle, pigs, and poultry. So instead of helping us to feed ourselves, our animals compete with us. By 2050, on present trends, the world’s livestock will consume enough to feed four billion people.’

Madness. But what can we do? Quite a lot, and hopefully start a trend that could spread around the world. The three main problems we have at the moment are; 1. appalling animal welfare making meat too cheap 2. in this country, only 9p in every £1 spent of food going back to the farmer and 3. lack of cooking knowledge and enthusiasm (despite all the shows on TV)

The corporate world has acquired the food industry, taking the other 91p in the £1 and is milking it, for all it is worth.

The exciting consequence is that the corporates have become greedy and complacent, thinking they also ‘own’ the consumer. Luckily, in this green and pleasant land, we have an alternative; Local food producers, who are cheaper and better.

If we switch to local nearly all of the £1 we spend goes back to the farmer and community. This encourages greater production and diversity, increasing employment and getting people involved in their local food industry. Sharing recipes, cooking, preserving and even cider making.

With our Crop for the Shop initiative local people, kids, or schools can even join, and earn, from the industry. Food could become the community builder for the future.

And animal welfare? Successive legislation has not been enough. We simply don’t have the right to keep animals the way many are ‘farmed’. Corporates have taken over and show the consumer great packaging and the tasty, sauce covered, product on a plate. Carefully hiding the story of its production. To see an example of this and the horror of pig farming click The Pig Business

If we embrace, and switch to, a local food industry, we may need to pay a bit more for really good meat and perhaps cut down a little. We will however save money, have a clear conscience, and in time, be healthier, and live in a better, more sustainable, community.

Or am I just dreaming? Your thoughts are very welcome below. Or if you agree switch to local using the BigBarn local food map, and tell your friends.


Will big business kill the food industry?

I hate the way big business is killing the dairy industry. Here, is how, and should we be worried?

Big business seems to pick a product, mass produce it, cut production costs, gain market share, then treat it as a cash cow to get as much profit as possible.

Tea, coffee and chocolate are classic examples of this practice. Over the last 20 years the big corporations took over most of the production and distribution of these products. As they cut cost, most of the products became very bland and large profits were made as they gained most of the market share.

People then realised that the primary producers were earning very little and Fair Trade began. In time, thank heavens, small businesses saw the high margins as the opportunity to buy really good products and sell them at reasonable prices, often cheaper than the bland, big brand names.

I see this product life cycle happening in the fresh food industry. The dairy industry is moving towards factory farms, where 1,000 cows will be penned under one roof, this is the cost cutting stage. I bet, to be followed, as above, by a rise in prices as the greedy corporations fix prices and take high margins.

Most of the small dairy farmers in the UK have given up, have converted their dairies to industrial units, and will not convert back. Those that are left are not allowed to sell their best product, raw milk, to local retailers, or, if sell to local people, must suffer extra restrictive regulation.

The pork industry was going the same way and may get there in the USA. See the Pig Business video. I hope it has been stopped in this country by the real demand for ‘free range’ and the many small farmers who successfully sell direct to get a fair price.

And that is how to stop ‘big business’ killing the food industry. By buying direct. Consumers can cut out ‘supply chain’ costs, expose farming practices and influencing change through communication and trade. At the same time many more farmers become profitable as they get a better price and can focus on what the customer wants, rather than the middle man. Meaning product quality rather than a lower price.

So if you don’t want to see the food industry destroy any more farming sectors, like the dairy farmers, use our local food map and buy local. Very often the products are better and cheaper. The onions may family grow, for instance, are currently sold to the local distributor for £130/tonne, 2 days later they are on the Tesco shelf priced at the equivalent of £850/tonne. If we sold direct to consumers and small local retailers at £300/tonne consumers would get them better than half price.

We also have some fantastic artisan tea, coffee and chocolatiers in our MarketPlace and welcome any small producer who takes market share from these bloated big businesses.

Frankenfish & Enviropigs. Do we want/need GM salmon & pork?

In the US members of congress are pushing to stop the FDA approving GM salmon that grows twice as fast as a normal salmon. Likewise Enviropig, a special pig for factory farms, is close to approval.

After 15 years of development, and huge amounts of investment, will the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prevail?

Judging by the amount of GM products already available, (and often hidden within the small print of a label), very likely.

It is incredibly disheartening to see these stories surface and realise that GM is designed for factory farms with very little benefit to the consumer. GM has not made food any cheaper and I guarantee that GM salmon and pork will not make the final product cheaper.

The salmon and pork will live in appalling conditions and any savings will be gobbled up by the GM patent and corporate supply chain charges.

Has anyone ever heard a reasonable argument against the dangers of GM? How can changing something so tiny be exact, and how can we possibly predict the long term consequences of GM?

There are so many unknowns any amount of tests cannot be complete.

GM is about money, not about solving the world food shortages, as proved by huge investments into GM salmon and pork, considered luxury foods to well over half the world’s population.

Luckily, in the UK we live in a green and pleasant land where all kinds of food can be grown and animals reared kindly. But watch out, the food industry wants us all to shop at supermarkets and be separated from farmers. This has already led to the dairy industry becoming industrialised and may get a lot worse if factory farmers have their way, with 1,000 cows under one roof, never allowed to walk in a field.

We must buy local and communicate with farmers to encourage more food production, or even join the food industry and crop for our local shops There are far to many places in the world where small farms have been taken over by corporations and factory farms torture animals, and poison waterways with untreated excrement. See Pig Business and watch the film.

But don’t feel obliged to shop locally, the great news is you can save money, not only because local food is very often cheaper, but because you will not be tempted by BOGOFS and special offers.

If you don’t know already; find your local food at BigBarn and please tell your friends. And register for local food news and special offers.