Our theme for October is 'Food'
Food is such an important topic in so many ways – nutritionally for good health, politically and ethically in terms of inequality and malnutrition ... and environmentally and ethically in terms of production, distribution and waste.
Here are just a few of the ethical and environmental concerns that many people have when thinking about food:
Vegetarianism: according to one recent study, around 6% of UK residents are vegetarian or vegan. There are many routes to vegetarianism, including religious convictions and animal cruelty – but one of the most common is the environmental impact of animal agriculture. It requires many times the amounts of water, energy and land to produce meat as it does to produce vegetable products with the same nutritional and calorific value.
Animal welfare: In a world where many consumers make choices based on price, some producers cut corners in terms of animal welfare – for example, force feeding animals, rearing them in overcrowded conditions and transporting them over large distances in cramped lorries.
Food miles: in today's world, we can easily buy foods that have travelled across the world, producing carbon dioxide as a result of transportation and cold storage. Buying locally is generally a good idea in terms of sustainability.
Seasonal foods: many foods are refrigerated over weeks or months, often using electricity generated from fossil fuels and so producing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. Alternatively, out-of-season fruits and vegetables may be imported from faraway places, incurring food miles.
Packaging: Most of today's ready-prepared food is (over-)packaged in plastic, much of which ends up in landfill.
Fair trade: Much of the world's food, particularly in developed countries, is produced cheaply on large profitable farms that can easily put smaller farms out of business. Fair Trade is a movement to help ensure good prices and better working conditions for smaller farmers and others involved in food production.
Food waste: Around one-third of all food produced is wasted. We can all take more care in buying only what we need and storing and eating it in ways that reduce waste.
A thought provoking video
Some food links for this month ...
Here are some reasons why we chose the topic for this month ...
World Vegetarian day – 1st October
International coffee day – 1st October
World porridge day – 10th October
World Egg Day – 13th October
World Food Day – 16th October.
Apple Day – 21st October
National cake week – 2nd to 8th October
Chocolate week – 9th to 15th October
National curry week – 9th to 15th October