Green Options › Forums › Sustainable Living Discussions › Healthy Food & Beverage › Hard times for the organic industry
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Hard times for the organic industry

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Some organic farmers in the UK are lobbying the government to allow for a temporary loosening of organic feed standards during the recession. That is, since organic feed prices are historically high and demand for organic groceries low, farmers want the option of feeding some conventional feed alongside organic. It's estimated that as many as half of all British shoppers who typically buy organic will reduce or give up their organic purchases.

 

(Read the whole post at Envirovore)

 

It's not surprising that organic foods have taken a hit.  It does seem like a bit of a luxury to spend a few dollars more when the economy is like this. 

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by stins:

 

It's not surprising that organic foods have taken a hit.  It does seem like a bit of a luxury to spend a few dollars more when the economy is like this. 

 

Yeah totally.  I'm a little bit of a cheapskate and sometimes have a hard time spending an extra dollar or two for the organic version of a product (but I usually suck it up and fork out the bucks anyway).  And I'm an eco-conscious person who hasn't been hit by the economic downturn, so I'm not surprised at all that the organics industry is having trouble.

 

I hope they don't loosen the organic feed standards too much though.  As long as most of the feed is organic, personally I wouldn't really have a problem with it.

post #3 of 11

How about instead of loosening the standards of what Organic is supposed to mean we provide other means of keeping farmers competitive?  How about Environmental food subsidies to lower the price of their feedstocks or materials based on the fact that these farmers are lessening our toxin load on the land?  Organic is more labor intensive in the short run, but in the long run because it is clean it produces less waste for all to deal with, which is very valuable to all societies.   A measure like that could be temporary, designed to last just til materials become more affordable again.  Businesses get subsidies and allowances like that from governments all the time to remain competitive.

 

Loosening organic standards is NOT the way to go.  If you do that then its not Organic anymore.  That small hole in the dike would turn into a rushing flood of mediocre organics based on rulings liike this.

 

I personally buy some organic and some not to make our budget work.  And I buy a LOT of bulk items to cut down on packaging and associated costs.  I spend weekends cooking big batches of fresh food that we eat throughout the week to save that way as well.  Why pay $2 per can of organic chili when I can make a gigantic pot for half the cost or less per serving?  Plus I still have beans leftover for more!  Yes it does cut into my "hangout" time but it is totally worth it.  We don't have to eat Ramen noodles and we still make our budget.

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriejulie:

Loosening organic standards is NOT the way to go.  If you do that then its not Organic anymore.  That small hole in the dike would turn into a rushing flood of mediocre organics based on rulings liike this.


I couldn't agree more on the "give an inch, take a mile" sentiment...if this were to happen, then it WILL be exploited by a major player coming in, claiming organic, and undercutting truly organic options on pricing defeating the entire reason for having the standard in the first place.

post #5 of 11

I think the subsidies would be a great Idea. It is important to ensure the organic standards stay firm because if they are loosened the chance of them being reinstated in the near future would be slim. Especially in the U.S. where our "organic" standards are already very low. I don't understand why the subsidies given to large commercial non-organic farming can't be partially re-allocated but that is also in the U.S. I am not sure about Britain's agriculture. I am thinking that with the amount of money that goes to commercial farms and fast food chains, if even 20% was re allocated for organic farmers I would put them into competition with standard food product in the grocery store.

 

http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/sepp/2005/07/07/agribusiness_farming_subsidies_destroy_food_security.htm

 

http://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/porkbarrel081804.cfm

post #6 of 11

 I don't support that. If it's organic, it shold be organic all the way. 

post #7 of 11

 I don't support that. If it's organic, it shold be organic all the way. 

post #8 of 11

You should read "The End of Food" by Paul Roberts. Seriously.

 

 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterA650:

You should read "The End of Food" by Paul Roberts. Seriously.

 

 Thanks Peter, sounds like a very interesting book! Here's a full description to it:

http://www.theendoffood.com/id8.html

 

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:
Quote:
Originally Posted by stins:

 

It's not surprising that organic foods have taken a hit.  It does seem like a bit of a luxury to spend a few dollars more when the economy is like this. 

 

Yeah totally.  I'm a little bit of a cheapskate and sometimes have a hard time spending an extra dollar or two for the organic version of a product (but I usually suck it up and fork out the bucks anyway).  And I'm an eco-conscious person who hasn't been hit by the economic downturn, so I'm not surprised at all that the organics industry is having trouble.

 

I hope they don't loosen the organic feed standards too much though.  As long as most of the feed is organic, personally I wouldn't really have a problem with it.


 

Good. They can send you all the stuff that's ALMOST organic and I'll eat the stuff that actually is organic. But let's not start basterdizing the word to mean something else than what it is now.

 

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by osity:
They can send you all the stuff that's ALMOST organic and I'll eat the stuff that actually is organic. But let's not start basterdizing the word to mean something else than what it is now.

 


 

Except if you're the only one eating the more expensive organic food, you won't be eating it for long, because the companies will go out of business.

 

My point here is that for example if a cow eats 80% organic feed, you're going to be getting an insignificant amount of herbicides/pesticides/whatever in your meat/dairy.  The point of the "organic" label is that the consumer is provided with food that doesn't contain these sorts of contaminants.  As long as the contaminants are kept at an extremely low level, personally I don't have a problem with it.

 

Maybe for you it's the principle that matters.  I'm a practical person and for me it's the end result that matters.  If it helps keep them in business and the quality is essentially the same, I'm okay with it.

 

It's also important to keep in mind what we're talking about here, because we're not talking about scarfing down vegetables covered in pesticides.

 

"UK organic certifiers are in early stage discussions over whether it could be feasible for organic farmers to feed some animals conventional feed for a limited period, without compromising their organic certification in the long term."


Edited by dana1981 - Wed, 18 Feb 2009 19:49:13 UTC
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Healthy Food & Beverage
Green Options › Forums › Sustainable Living Discussions › Healthy Food & Beverage › Hard times for the organic industry