Thursday, 25 October 2007

Site Stats

I have been looking at the CFG’s stats. Here are some of them:

Language Groups: 92% English, 2% Welsh.
Continents: 53% North America, 40% Europe, 5% Asia.
Countries: 47% US, 38% UK, 6% Canada.
Browsers: 53% Firefox, 24% IE6, 17% IE7, 4% Safari.

I have left out any categories showing 1%.

It is curious that there are more visits from North America than Europe. I note use of Firefox browsers is the same percentage as North American visitors, though I doubt all the former are from the latter. It is interesting to note the Firefox users are in the majority of visitors at the moment.

Soil Association - Organic means what we say it means

When is organic not organic? When the Soil association says so.

The soil association, one suspects having been ‘got at’ by environ-mentalists has arbitrarily decided that they will no longer count foreign organically grown produce as ‘organic’ if it is imported air freighted – unless it passes their new ‘ethical’ standards.

They have been gradually working towards this for some time.

If one didn’t know better one would assume the policy was deliberately designed to harm poorer countries. Their policy director Peter Melchett freely admits that some (poorer) overseas (Africa?) producers would find it impossible to meet the new standards they had set . Very few overseas producers meet the planned new standards at the moment and the policy was expected to reduce the use of air freight.

So it’s all in the name of attacking the environ-mentalists CO2 bĂȘte noire, air travel/freight. One wonders how else these produces can get their products to the shops before they spoil.

The chairwoman of the Soil Association's standards board, Anna Bradley, stated: "It is neither sustainable nor responsible to encourage poorer farmers to be reliant on air freight but we recognise that building alternative markets that offer the same social and economic benefits as organic exports will take time." They plan to bring the new measures in from January 2009.

How coldly patronising can you get? They sound like colonial administrators. We all have to make sacrifices for the good of Gaia. The soil Association are willing to make the sacrifice of having to do without African ‘organic’ produce, the African farmer will just have to do without his livelihood.

Executive director of the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC), Patricia Francis, warned that: ”African companies and cooperatives want to trade internationally.

To get value-added organic foods on to retail shelves, they have an overwhelming amount of standards to meet.

Meeting these standards costs money - laboratories, audits and more. Too many standards will hurt African farmers, which is just the opposite of what British consumers want.”

Why should the Soil Association be allowed to co-opt and distort the meaning of a word that ’belongs’ to us all. We are not French speakers, to have the meanings of our words imposed upon us by an elite cognoscenti. We are speaking of English words, that even now, in the newspeak UK, are still not quite so amenable to imposition by fiat - or should that be Nu-Speak ;-)

No matter what the Soil association says - if the food is produced organically, it will be just as pesticide and chemical free as it was before. It will still actually be organic in the normal sense of the word. Are they just getting a little too big for their boots?