battle in the skies

We all know that air travel is the fastest-growing source of carbon emissions, so should the Soil Association try and discourage bringing organic vegetables to the uk by air? Or even refuse to grant anything air freighted organic status? If so, what about the African farmers just starting to make a living selling the organic green beans flown in to the UK?

At Riverford we have never air freighted anything, but we know it’s a complex issue and there’s an interesting consultation document on the Soil Association website

As Anna Bradley, Chair of the Soil Association Standards Board says: “as awareness of climate change has grown, concerns have been raised about the damage caused to the environment by air freight.

However, when reducing our impact on the world’s climate, we must carefully consider the social and economic benefits of air freight for international development and growth of the organic market as a whole.”

5 responses to “battle in the skies

  1. This topic seems to come up regularly. I still believe that we have to look at the detailed CO2 footprint of each option, and choose the lesser one. If it turns out the CO2 emitted by the aircraft is overall less than that produced by heating of politunnels, refridgeration and the lorry from spain, then fly it in…

    Of course I know that it is very difficult to figure out the exact CO2 footprint for each choice.

  2. We should address the problem of cheap holiday flights first.Hopping on yet another cheap flight for yet another ‘short break’ has become the norm as has the fashion for two or three holidays a year, all taking flights. Paying the real cost of these flights as well as paying a proper price for our food, wherever it’s from, is what we should be doing.

  3. It has been argued that growers in poorer countries would do better to grow for themselves instead of using all their resources to feed us. If we must import goods we should choose the least damaging option. The really worrying thought is that those aeroplanes dont go back empty. These countries are in debt buying arms from us!

  4. Keith Balderson

    The politics of arms sales has little to do with this. IMHO if we don’t sell arms to these countries then someone else will and it will be yet another industry that we have lost, regardless of ethics. We should be even handed and supply both sides…

    Back to the point in question I would rather use seasonal ingredients locally sourced, organic or not*, than ship ‘sturdy’ products half way around the world. If you asked the average third world person I’m sure they would agree as long as there was enough to survive on. If we then have resources of whatever kind to help those less fortunate (and we judge that criteria by our own standards) then that is for personal choice.

    (*) Unlike some I cannot get hung up on organic versus artificially fertilised – it is the taste and environmental impact that counts. My experience is that organic and ‘proper’ free range tastes better and that’s why I buy it.

  5. Keith Balderson

    Suplement to the previous coment: Genetic modification is not acceptable until we really know what we doing, which is probably some time never. Chemical fertilisers and sprays have a place I feel, but if used to over produce in land that cannot take it then logic states that it will ultimately fail.

    I live in the south-east of the UK and I can see that the basic greed and overcrowding will eventually break the model. That comment is about social structure, but is applicable to farming and other infrastructures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *