“Out of sight out of mind” and a mini plea……

I was asked to give my opinion the other day on why organic food is better for us and our planet and why it is a little more expensive.

And here’s a question for you: if you have a garden at home do you or would you spray your food with chemicals, then harvest and eat it?

Much of our food system today manages and survives because of the ‘out of sight is out of mind’ principle. The giant ultra processed food factories, where vats of sludge are transformed into irresistible snacks, the giant inhumane animal factory farms, the massive intensive conventional vegetable farms that spray and coat our food in chemicals, we see none of this and if we were to, I think it would leave an implacable lasting impression that could change our food habits forever.

Supermarkets want to make the highest possible margin on as many products as possible, but they also want to entice the greatest number of people to shop with them. To do this they often loss lead with fresh produce. Now from the point of view of the consumer this may seem like a win-win, but it may not always be as good as it seems, and as they say there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Inevitably the supermarket will have put pressure on the farmer to supply at lower costs, and whilst again you may say that’s the rules of the marketplace, it can have more serious consequences for us the consumers. Setting aside the fact that for local producers it means many will go out of business and this will have an impact on our ability to source local produce in the future, leading to more imports, and less food security, it has other serious financial implications that we pay for indirectly. These costs are externalised as they say.

Low prices, always have a cost, and this cost will be factored in somewhere along the food chain. Look at the kick back of farmers against the green deal that the European parliament is trying to get over the line at the moment. Farmers do not want to bear the pressure for the environmental costs, as they will make it more difficult for them to compete against cheap imports. But, if they were paid a fair price for their food then they would be more likely to accept a deal.So right here we see the cost that is borne by the planet, by the land, by the environment, by biodiversity. We end up with polluted water ways due to high intensity pesticide and fertiliser application, leading to algal blooms that kill the fish, look at lough Neagh last year.

Conversely if there is money in the pot, to plant trees, and hedgerows, and tend to bees and plant tracts of wildflowers and leave areas to go back to nature, and not use single use plastic, as we do, on our farm then that is what can happen. It has been estimated that over half a trillion dollars of food production relies on pollinators annually, without them we would be in real trouble.

Then there is the application of chemicals in our food system, remember our kale was tested for 870 chemicals, that means a possible 870 toxic chemicals could be used on conventional food.

I cannot overstate the impact not using chemicals has in the production of our food and I know a thing or two about chemicals. Without chemicals there are weeds, and biodiversity depends on weeds for survival, just look at the decimation of the Monarch butterfly in the Americas, a major contributing factor is the use of Roundup. When chemicals are used, they get into the food and they destroy all diversity, leaving vast monocultures, that require more and more chemicals to control, weeds, bugs and fungi. The more chemicals in our food system, the less life in our food system it is as simple as that. There are now 44,000 species on the IUCN red list.

We need biodiversity. As farmers we are given the responsibility of producing food but also of protecting the land we were given, my dad and granddad believed that. What has happened to modern agriculture that we have strayed so far from this path?

As always with help from people like you we are creating a better fairer food system, thank you.


PS Since we have introduced our new website we have suffered a substantial loss of customers, if you are one of those customers that is grappling with resetting your password or are not familiar with the way the new system works, please, please give it a try, we the 38 people who work here rely on those orders each week, as does our farm and our network of Irish suppliers. So please if you can have another look. Once you get set up it is actually much much better and we have some exciting offers to help out with the cost too. Keep an eye on your inbox this weekend for some fantastic offers.

CLICK HERE www.greenearthorganics.ie TO PLACE YOUR ORDER FOR DELIVERY NEXT WEEK 🙂 We really need and value each order.