Friday, 26 September 2014

The Organic Internet

Research isn't all fast-cars, international locations and cocktails, in fact it would be pretty good if it ever was even one of those things, but most of the time it is about discipline, details and determination. At the moment I am working my way through a vast number of websites for organic farms, shops, veg-boxs, on-line retailers, markets and specialist suppliers (I would recommend Why Organic and Alotoforganic). Just how many sites I can find is probably going to be a long and the subject of another blog. 

The question that is raised by this work is just how dependent on the internet boom has the rise of organic food and farming been. Sure BSE was important, as was an economic boom and the Labour government but has the Internet played a big role in helping farmers directly communicate with the customer? Rather than having to rely on a middle person the farmer has been able to forge virtual links with the end customer, they get to keep more of the profit and the consumer knows where their food has come from. The Soil Association estimate that in 2004 this was worth £38.5 million for veg and meat sales of £2.2 million. Since that time the growth in veg-box schemes in particular has been huge and it would be nothing but a guess but the figures could now have doubled. With the integration between databases, on-line retailing and distribution systems veg boxes in particular are now probably easier to cope with than trailing down to the supermarket. 

The other aspect of this that we shouldn't underestimate is the cachet or cultural capital of having a box delivered. In a time when we construct our identities partly through our consumption patterns using the Internet - the technology of the moment - in order to order your organic goods - the food of the moment is a sign of being very highly contemporary. It is also as many concerned with ethical living would suggest a public display of virtue. That is not to belittle these projects far from it. If virtue is easy, if the environmentally sound is the default setting of daily life we can only all benefit. All we need to do now is to get all of those people ordering their environmentally sound food on recycled computers running on open-source software!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Organic compound

An organic compound is any member of a large class of gaseous, liquid, or solid chemical compounds whose molecules contain carbon. For historical reasons discussed below, a few types of carbon-containing compounds such as carbides, carbonates, simple oxides of carbon (such as CO and CO2), and cyanides, as well as the allotropes of carbon such as diamond and graphite, are considered inorganic.

The distinction between "organic" and "inorganic" carbon compounds, while "useful in organizing the vast subject of chemistry... is somewhat arbitrary". Organic chemistry is the science concerned with all aspects of organic compounds. Organic synthesis is the methodology of their preparation.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Organic food

Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

The weight of the available scientific evidence has not shown a consistent and significant difference between organic and more conventionally grown food in terms of safety, nutritional value, or taste.

For the vast majority of human history, agriculture can be described as organic; only during the 20th century was a large supply of new synthetic chemicals introduced to the food supply. The organic farming movement arose in the 1940s in response to the industrialization of agriculture known as the Green Revolution.

Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, distinct from private gardening. Currently, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification in order to market food as organic within their borders. In the context of these regulations, organic food is food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by national governments and international organizations. In the United States, organic production is a system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 and regulations in Title 7, Part 205 of the Code of Federal Regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

If livestock are involved, the livestock must be reared with regular access to pasture and without the routine use of antibiotics or growth hormones. In the United States, a food can be labelled as "organic" if it contains a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.In most countries, organic produce also do not contain genetically modified organisms. It has been suggested that the application of nanotechnology to food and agriculture is a further technology that needs to be excluded from certified organic food. The Soil Association (UK) has been the first organic certifier to implement a nano-exclusion.

Wednesday, 1 February 2006

Whole Foods arrives in the UK

As I mentioned in an earlier blog the future of retailing seems to be seen by some to be involved with organic foods. This interesting profile in the Observer Food section about the US chain Whole Foods and the plans they have for UK food retailing is interesting.

It seems to be part of a wider push by retailers to place their own brand alongside that of organic, in part to see if good things rub off onto theirs but also in part to subsume it would seem the identity of organic into their own, or is that overly cynical? Is there any evidence, if there is I'll try to find and a post it.