Allotment Vegetable Growing
Monday 20 May 2013
Allotment Articles - Allotment Gardening
The Hidden Dangers in Our Food
The pressure of economics, supermarkets and increased population has given us towards ever cheaper food on the table. In itself this wouldn't be a bad thing but unfortunately it is not without risk.
Farming obviously has a huge effect on the environment and run-off of fertilisers has been shown to do damage to rivers and streams. Pesticide sprays present a danger to the operator and those who happen to live or be standing next to a field when it gets sprayed.
Growing your own vegetables and perhaps raising your own poultry, producing your own eggs might be a lot of work and not a lot cheaper than what you can buy in the shops if you count your time as money but it may well be a lot safer than we realise for all of us.
Pesticide Residues Cause Obesity?
Now Professor Frederick von Saal has stated that there may be a link between pesticide residues and other man-made chemicals in the environment absorbed from food and obesity.
There may even be a link between these and behaviour. There is always a tendency as you get older to bemoan the younger generation but I wonder if the increase (if there is actually an increase, not just my perception) in anti-social behaviour may have a deeper cause than we think.
Going back a little way, we had the BSE crisis. We discovered that feeding cows, a herbivore, on ground up sheep caused BSE which people could catch from eating those cows. We've been incredibly lucky on this. The majority of the country ate infected beef and the disease was slow to develop and hard to catch.
Imagine a UK where 90% of the population was dying and there was nothing that could be done. Worse still, slowly dying but denied care in the process as everyone else near enough was in the same boat.We came close to this horrific scenario because we ignored and overrode nature to the point we did with cattle.
Only last year we had the adulterated food colour that managed to get into so many products, ready-meals (awful things!) being withdrawn everywhere and then they found it was in all sorts of unexpected foodstuffs. It seemed that nothing was safe.
Now we have the avian flu raising its head again. I don't want to be sued by Bernard Mathews and in any event it could have been any agri-business producing poultry that was hit by this.
If we had many more small-scale producers of poultry then the chances are probably higher of an infection coming in. But that infection would be limited to just a few hundred birds rather than the awful sight of thousands of birds being culled.
It seems likely that infected birds were brought in from Hungary and the disease transmitted by gulls feeding on the waste, which fell through to the house from holes in the ceiling. So not only could this have spread to domestic birds but also to the wild population.
Instead of blaming Bernard Mathews perhaps we should blame the system that he works in. Maybe the danger of cheap food outweighs the benefits.
Growing your own vegetables and perhaps raising your own poultry, producing your own eggs might be a lot of work and not any cheaper than what you can buy in the shops but it may well be a lot safer than we realise for all of us.
Cost of Food
I expect moving to small scale local production of food would result in a large price rise, once again limiting our diet because if the price of things but perhaps a diet where meat featured only two or three times a week and food was once again too expensive to be wasted would actually result in safer and longer life rather than malnutrition.
Related Article on Dangers in Food
For hundreds of years, if not thousands, bread has been made in the same way. Flour, water, salt and water combined with yeast as a raising agent. In 1961 a new method was developed, known as the Chorleywood Process which reduced the time to make bread and the labour input, thereby reducing manufacturing costs. The age of industrial bread was born.
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