Rachel cites Dr Bruce Lee of CSIRO’s Food Futures Flagship saying:
“It is not only food miles (fuel consumed in the production, transport and processing of food) that are a problem: the use of nitrogen-based fertilisers to boost productivity on depleted soils is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas in agriculture”
Dr Andrew Monk, Chair of Biological Farmers of Australia Standards who in turn cites a German study that found:
“Emissions converted from food production into car trip equivalents (show) organic systems do not use fossil fuel based chemicals that emit nitrous oxides and damage microbial soil life”.
There is definitely a return to backyard veggie and poultry production, with city farms and community and rooftop gardens becoming more popular.
‘Locavores’ – people who only buy food produced from within a certain distance from their homes – are now getting quite a bit of media coverage.
Better understanding of labels and pushing for better labelling will help consumers make simple, common sense choices that can make an immediate difference to our own food’s environmental budget.
Rachel writes that:
“Australian supermarkets freely admit they are a long way behind the sustainability standard of leading organisations such as UK-based Tesco.
The UK has the most highly developed fresh food market in the world, with sophisticated, innovative retailers competing aggressively for consumer dollars. About 50% of UK supermarket shoppers are seriously interested in the sustainability criteria of the food they buy, with many unconcerned about price.
The UK’s supermarket goods distribution is among the most sophisticated in the world.
Supermarket giant Tesco saw that not only could they cater to this highly discerning market by ramping up their own sustainability credentials, reducing water and power consumption, they also recognised that by becoming greener was a real growth pathway.
Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy said in a 2007 speech that the
‘huge growth in sales of organic food is testimony to the fact that people will make greener choices if given the right information, opportunity and incentive’…
The competitive pricing of organic products means that for many, they are no longer luxury items’…
By transforming its business model so that the reduction of its carbon foorptint became central business driver, Tesco has achieved a 39% year-on-year growth in sales.”
For more info:
Ethical Consumer Guide www.ethical.org.au
About the UK food industry www.ausfoodnews.com.au/2008/10/20/uk-food-industry-on-the-road-to-sustainability.html