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Peter Melchett's potty time

This is a guest post by Charlie Flindt.

I can’t see what all the fuss is about; I loved 2016. The Left spent much of the year deafening us with its whining, and flooding us with its bitter tears, the Brexit vote has done marvels for my farm's bank balance after a mediocre but easy harvest, and, best of all, the Soil Association has gone completely potty. 

We conventional farmers have always loved our organic brethren. We love anyone who deliberately grows less than they could be growing – it’s good for the wheat supply-and-demand, even if it is slightly morally questionable when much of the world is still hungry.  We marvel at their carefully cultivated image of ‘pesticide-free’, when the truth is not quite as clear-cut as that. So when the leading lights of the Soil Association start sounding a bit bonkers in front of the media – well, it’s time to get the popcorn and enjoy the show.

Back in May, yet another report came out stating that GM food was safe. After a brief chat with a world-weary-looking pro-GM scientist, the BBC interviewed Lord Peter Melchett, the Soil Association’s policy director, who, not surprisingly, took a different view on GM’s dangers. “Just because there’s no evidence,” he said solemnly, “doesn’t mean that nothing’s happening. Now, in the country where most GM food has been eaten, there is a huge developing diet-related health crisis – in North America. I’m not saying that’s because of GM food – but you can’t tell me it’s not.” 

This is remarkable and (I would suggest) somewhat contradictory logic from a man who read Law at Cambridge. I would refer M’Lud to some of the finest cover stories of the Sunday Sport in its 80s heyday: ‘B-52 Bomber Found on Moon!’ ‘Lord Lucan Seen on Shergar!’ ‘I was a nine-inch sex slave!’ ‘B-52 Bomber Now GONE From Moon!’ All must be true, according to the Soil Association’s finest legal mind, because of a lack of evidence that they’re not. I rest my case.

In July, the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) came under attack again, and this time it was the Soil Association’s Helen Browning’s turn to be given the kid-glove treatment by the BBC. Countryfile allowed her free rein to demand that this vital herbicide should be banned simply because there are suggestions that it might be carcinogenic, and that the public would be happy to pay more to compensate the farmer for drying costs if pre-harvest desiccation were banned. The hilarity (and hypocrisy) of this interview stemmed from the fact that much of it was carried out over the bonnet of an aged diesel-powered Land Rover Defender. When it comes to carcinogenic emissions, there’s only one way to beat a diesel-fuelled grain dryer: you drive one of Solihull’s finest.

And then, late in the year, we had SA's astonishing Tweet. ‘Millions of farm animals are abused in the pursuit of cheap food, but there is another way...’ said the Soil Association on its Twitter feed. The resulting (and perfectly justified) outrage from non-organic livestock boys and girls was enough to prompt a letter of apology. But even that seemed to stop being an apology halfway through, and drifted off into the realms of comedic praise for Greenpeace’s intimidation of companies by staking out their HQs dressed as gorillas.  Really, Ms Browning? I mean – really?

Yup, it has been a vintage year for entertainment, courtesy of the Soil Association. It’s the organic gift that goes on giving. Let’s hope they keep it up for 2017.

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Reader Comments (103)

Should remember the Soil Association's roots and who founded it.

Jan 9, 2017 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Good man, Charlie Flindt, you are a good man. Liked your post.

Jan 9, 2017 at 6:00 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

When we were obligate locavores, malnutrition was the norm by Spring. And God help you if there were untimely frosts, or floods, droughts, pestilences, or wars.

Jan 9, 2017 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

From watching the French News I think glyphosate (or some variants) have/has been banned in several European countries including Holland and France. I suppose I'll have to resort to smuggling along with decent tea bags, Irn Bru and Tunnocks Caramel Wafers.

Jan 9, 2017 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Happy New Year, Charlie. Always good to hear the voice of common sense.

Jan 9, 2017 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered Commentermike fowle

Methinks that 'diesel emissions' is the latest environmentalist construct. Is it nitrogen oxides or particles or both that they take issue with? I read a report on Medscape (for medical research) going on about how many deaths were caused - there was nothing about how exposure was measured, how the risk factor was estimated and extrapolated to the estimated (guessed) exposure. There was absolutely no mention of what other factors had been investigated, nor how their possible contributions had been evaluated nor eliminated, or any estimates of uncertainties. In a word, propaganda! Then the latest in no less than the UK times to say that diesel cars are worse than lorries or buses..... you can see where this is going. Also on Medscape, and article about glyphosate saying that the 'European Parliament tested positive' for it, with no explanation as to measured concentrations, risk factors etc. Here again there was no comparison with other common chemicals such as bleach, soap, furniture polish etc. all of which are likely to be detectable in people! I should have taken the time to complain about publishing such meaningless, unsubtantiated, unscientific clap trap.

Jan 9, 2017 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimon Evans

From watching the French News I think glyphosate (or some variants) have/has been banned in several European countries including Holland and France. I suppose I'll have to resort to smuggling along with decent tea bags, Irn Bru and Tunnocks Caramel Wafers.
Jan 9, 2017 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

SandyS - I think glyphosate is currently not banned in France. I buy a couple of bottles of the cheapo brand each time I go into the Lerclerc garden shop. Sergolene talked about banning it a couple of years or so ago but I think it was outside her authority to do so.

La ministre de l'Environnement, et plusieurs ONG ont déploré jeudi la décision de la Commission européenne de prolonger pour 18 mois l'autorisation du glyphosate.

Ségolène Royal, la ministre de l'Environnement, et plusieurs ONG ont déploré jeudi la décision de la Commission européenne de prolonger pour 18 mois l'autorisation du glyphosate, une substance herbicide dont les effets sur la santé font débat.

30 juin 2016

Jan 9, 2017 at 11:38 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Hi Charlie
thanks for the heads up on the "bonkers in front of the media"
not related but wonder how many Lords, Sirs, etc... we have in this country, seems to be everybody but me & you !!

just wondered, can you expand on -
"the Brexit vote has done marvels for my farm's bank balance"

it would be nice if your farm experience is another example of the up side to the dreaded BREX..

best wishes mate

Jan 10, 2017 at 12:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterdfhunter

"Helen Browning [..] over the bonnet of an aged diesel-powered Land Rover Defender" doesn't conjure up good thoughts for me.

But this is standard boilerplate stuff from the greenies. Glyphosate has been demonstrated as safe by many decades of use. But if you get a supplicant green wannabe-scientist to immerse a supine legislator in pure glyphosate you will find an illness that may make them ill and shorten their lifespan. You can play the same tricks with sodium chloride.

Of course, the real reason for the sudden increased interest in this old, safe, off-patent, pesticide is that Round-Up-Ready GM crops make use of the GM plant's resistance to glyphosate. They are thus attacking GM crops on any and every front available. The same happened with nuclear power: They initially attacked it on safety and then realised that attacking it on economics at the same time might be synergistic (having first made it less economic due to increased regulation from safety fears).

Fair treatment from the BBC on any matter involving 'chemikals' just isn't going to happen. The only question, in my mind, is just how big the budget cuts need to be before the BBC decide that following the BBC charter might actually be a good idea. I think the BBC eventually grasped that idea over their coverage of Israel, where they seem to have opted for a maybe-saying-less-might-be-better approach. That indicates how strongly wedded they are to many of their internal political shibboleths. Unfortunately they seem to have a habit of transferring their angst to another topic where they think they can get away with. A bit like Prince Charles.

Jan 10, 2017 at 12:59 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart


'The Brexit vote has done marvels for my farm's bank account....'

Well, the single most important factor in my farm's profitability at the moment) is the Pound/Euro exchange rate, for two reasons.

The first is the massive subsidy cheque that we farmers get from the EU - the Single Farm Payment. The rights and wrongs of the subsidy system would fit several blog pages, but as the system stands at the moment, if we do what we're told by our 'cross compliance handbook', fill in our forms correctly, and satisfy the inspectors if and when they come round, we get a wodge around Christmas. This wodge is paid in Euros, and then converted to Sterling using a complicated formula based around the exchange rate at the end of September. So, sterling's fall vs the Euro has been bloomin' handy in that respect, boosting the SFP by around 18%.

And second: the subsidy cheque is so vital at the moment because prices of our produce (arable crops in my case) are so low. Again, this is worthy of another five blog pages (full barns around the world thanks to lots of CO2 in the air, nice warmer temperatures etc etc), but I think we're at about what my father was getting thirty year ago. However, within the EU market, the fall of Sterling has helped again, and every ton, sorry - tonne, of wheat is up by about £30, to £140/ton, solely as a result of currency movements, which are themselves solely a result of Brexit.

You never heard a silence like the one emanating from NFU [National Farmers Union] Towers at the moment. They were fully subscribed to Project Fear, threatening doom and despair if we dared to vote Leave. They've gone very quiet about what would have happened financially (thanks to a soaring Pound) if we'd voted how we were told.

Jan 10, 2017 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

Simon Evans:

When I became involved with Health and Safety for a firm using lots of chemicals The Technical Director said to me that there was a move to ban Bisphenol A (used in [most] epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastic) because it could leach from beverage can linings and cause cancer. He pointed out from his calculations that "an ordinary citizen would have to swallow the contents of 840,000 cans in a year to be affected".
I replied sarcastically, "that is serious?"
He said, "Yes, these scares normally require 3 or 4 millions cans in a year".
We ignored the nonsense as can linings were normally epoxy-phenolic baked films with 50+ years of safety. (to extract Bisphenol A from epoxy resins requires something like boiling (120℃) hydroiodic acid, not a comon reagent, let alone known from anybody's gut). Besides we had stopped supplying them 18 years previously when an improved formulation was invented (by the Technical Director as it happened).

By a coincidence that month we had to get rid of a drum of cresylic acids (coal tar fraction) at the behest of the muti-national that had just taken us over and was horrified to find it in the store. We hadn't used any for 3 years but they wanted it disposed of with ALL SAFETY PRECAUTIONS (we stuck it on the back of a truck and delivered it to another less squeamish paint company). With that done a copy of one of the 'greenie' magazines surfaced with an ADD for Scott's Phenyle a "safe" disinfectant for outdoor latrines, with a proven track record of use for nearly 100 years. It was composed of cresylic acids from coal tar. We used to handle it in full isolation gear, Greenies splashed it about in the dunny. These are the people who lecture us on what is safe and permitted.

Jan 10, 2017 at 9:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

The next time the BBC does a story about food shortages and rising prices, it would seem fair to blame organic farmers for reducing supply.

How people grow plants and food in their own garden, is upto them. The original idea of the Common Market and its predecessors, was to prevent a war due to food shortages. How subsidising people to grow food badly makes sense, is beyond me.

Jan 10, 2017 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Martin A
Thanks, I haven't had the requirement to buy any for the last couple of years, I bought a several of large containers when on offer and use it sparingly . Possibly the ban is restricted to Paris? I remember our next door Parisians complaining about last summer. I also know another French neighbour who commented on a mutual neighbour spraying some sort of weed killer that they weren't supposed to do that any more whilst an also banned garden bonfire was smoking away in their own garden.

Jan 10, 2017 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Charlie Flindt, not sure how you can claim Brexit make you/NFU better off when it depends on the EU subsidies that are likely to disappear without a couple of years.

Jan 10, 2017 at 11:19 AM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Read it again, Steve TA. I said nothing about being better off in years to come - I'm talking about the here and now. Brexit has made farmers better off this year. Who knows about subsidies in the future? Well, they certainly weren't guaranteed even if we stayed in the EU - a major review was due in 2010. A British Agriculture Policy may well prove to be kinder to British farmers than the CAP of future years. And that would indeed be irony.

Jan 10, 2017 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

The recent 3rd quarter final energy consumption data suggests the UK is in a dire state .
This is a self imposed scarcity (MORE CARBON FLOOR TAX THEN BREXIT) measure to insure the money monopoly remains totally in control but the real economy is no more.

So glad to hear a mercantile large farmer is having a great time but the essential function of production is consumption, not capitalistic mass export for their company tokens.
Sorry but my experience in Ireland suggests the end of small farming results in a dramatic decline of production per acre.
Typically unproductive high altitude grazing continues and more labour intensive lower altitude farming on marginal land ceases .
The complete opposite of what you would expect from a simple biomass potential viewpoint.

Large farmers cannot afford to work marginal low altitude land.
They cannot afford the labour and / or cannot afford the machine and chemical inputs for its lower return per acre relative to typical high quality ranch style land on the east coasts of these islands.

Rational agricultural activity remains completly inverted on these islands.
In a rational British isles land above 300~ meters should be completly abandoned and more small farmers enpowered to farm 20 to 30 acre sea level plots.

Jan 10, 2017 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Why are the Dunkerrons(the wildest mountains in Munster )still intensively farmed ,exempt for the very core of this majestic place you will see modern fenceposts in the most incongruous of places.

While farming at sea level has effectivelly ceased in many parts of South Kerry.
Me thinks the reason is both of a monetary and distributionist root cause.
The south facing coastal strip of land facing Kenmare bay is capable of many 100s of times of production relative to its high tops.
However it requires large amounts of seaweed / lime from sand and most of all labour.
Before the Tudor sheep conquest this area feed much of Spain with their small cattle.

Jan 10, 2017 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

A couple of vaguely-related points, folks....

Firstly, re 'diesel emissions' - why, oh why, do we in this country not adopt the practice in the USA of having truck and bus exhausts at high level - where both the particulates and NOx stuff has a better chance of dispersal..? Instead buses and trucks here have whopping great exhaust pipes at 'baby buggy level'....

Secondly - and here I take the mainstream media to task - when Sky News announced that Martin McGuiness had resigned over the 'non-resignation' of the DUP leader (whose name escapes me - apologies, madam) - because she was allegedly involved in a 'green deal' scam - I was waiting with baited breath for the anchorman to cut to a reporter for details of said scam.
Nothing happened - apart from a picture of some 'biomass' burning.
Just in case anyone missed it - this was the scheme in Northern Ireland whereby, as I understand it, if you bought £100-worth of biomass pellets, you were paid £160.
Think about that for a minute.
That's a 60% return on investment.
Enterprising businessmen were heating EMPTY BUILDINGS.
Not only that - but as 'biomass waste' supply was being outstripped by demand, land was being taken out of food production to grow (e.g.) maize to be ground up to produce biomass....
The media and (on LBC this morning, a Conservative member of the Northern Ireland Liaison Committee) have been strangely silent on this matter....
Wonder why..?

Jan 10, 2017 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Possibly the ban is restricted to Paris?

Jan 10, 2017 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Dunno. Perhaps they confused glysophate with diesel cars?

Jan 10, 2017 at 3:39 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Think about that for a minute.
That's a 60% return on investment.

Its actually worse than that, its 60% return on consumption, on investment its many times higher as the investment is the pellet burner, once that's in you have paid for the capital equipment. You get the 60% on consumption and if you run the pellet burner full time after the investment is paid back after 4 or 5 years you have 15 more years of free money. How who said the money tree did not exist.

Jan 10, 2017 at 4:35 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

I am going to regret this, but ...

Dork of Cork said: "... the essential function of production is consumption, not capitalistic mass export ...". But the export is precisely for consumption where the production is exported to.

Jan 10, 2017 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Is it just me or is the organic food fad in sharp decline (except on Countryfile of course) , it used to be in-yer-face at supermarkets, now I barely see it? I had an organic apple once, on holiday in France, it took a while to figure out why it cost so much, but I'm still perplexed about what could make an apple non-organic.

Jan 10, 2017 at 6:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

The emissions from an aged diesel-powered Land Rover Defender are very probably harmful for humans.

But they are probably very good for the crops.

Jan 10, 2017 at 8:53 PM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

My comment was eaten , I will try to respond tommorow.

Jan 10, 2017 at 11:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Excellent article Charlie Flindt!

Back in the 1970s, my Father bought a few acres surrounding an ancient (to Americans) rambling four floor building that had once served as an inn during colonial days.
The heater was an old coal fired monstrosity long ago converted to heating oil (diesel).

The expense of heating the house was incredible, so my Father sensibly cut back by shutting off the steam pipes to anywhere but the bathrooms. Of course, the only shower was in the basement which also was not heated, but deep enough that coupled with the monster heater kept the pipes from freezing.

That was in Pennsylvania and my Father had gotten it into his mind to raise organic vegetables and strawberries; with his five sons to help him. Only that three of us were old enough to help substantively and two of us were working full time elsewhere.

In the United States, there is the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), which ostensibly helps with research and international markets.

Prepared by the USDA were presentations, pamphlets and literature suggesting that smaller farms should take advantage of customer desires for farm fresh foods.
Ideally this concept needs a good image title and description, which was already being used by assorted communes; i.e. "Organic".

By raising and selling farm fresh foods under the "Organic" label, farmers could raise and sell premium products at higher prices, thereby saving small farmers. Or so the story goes.
Yes, I did have copies of the original materials and for years afterwards, these presentations were available from the USDA.

The USDA established the "Organic" imprimatur and then the regulations and inspections necessary to confirm "organic" methods.
Somewhere along this process, the "Organic" authorization process was an early hijack by progressives. Quickly causing many early farm "organic" adopters to renege and return to chemicals.

Others, wondered who the USDA loons were. As I and my Brothers did while weeding a couple of acres of strawberries from infestations of thistle. Definitely not fun work.

Each state has it's own Department of Agriculture that communicates with farmers and residents through county/parish agriculture extensions. The county agriculture extensions are often connected to the agriculture focused schools and colleges who test research and usher in the latest agriculture science.

Oddly enough and completely unsurprising, organic farming is taught as small farm marketing; not as science.

Having experiences with growing food allows one to browse the various food stalls and learning who is not trustworthy.
All plant seeds have a growth schedule. Seeds require germination, growth and harvesting which takes time.
Knowing the last local freeze allows one to quickly determine shills from farmers.
Asking a vendor if the produce is a certain high quality variety when it is physically impossible for the plants to reach harvest locally, often gets an affirmative response from the shills.

While the real farmers look you in the eye and tell you "H_ll no!". These are the guys who know darn well that shills are buying the same commercial produce that large grocery stores do and then selling the week old wilted stuff as local produce.

Learn who the farmers are and buy their goods! What they have, when it is available.

Back to reality.
Sometimes people are surprised that I pass by organic labels to buy regular produce. "Didn't you raise organic produce?" Grrr.
God forbid someone starts droning at me about non-GMO foods. If they're lucky, I tell to raise their own non-GMO foods.

If they are unlucky, I start talking about the origins of maize (corn) and wheat. Just the intelligence and cross breeding required to initiate farming the grain, let alone the ingenuity to capitalize on various mutations.

Plus mankind has known about colchicine, derived from "Colchicum autumnale" for thousands of years.
"Colchicum autumnale, a drug of which we have excellent provings, which has been in continual medical favour for three thousand years (it is mentioned in the Ebers papyrus of 1550 B.C.) and one which Dioscorides even mentions in connection with the cure of tumours which have not yet invaded the body."

Colchicine is quite toxic, but under dilution can be used to induce genetic plant changes. Plants that survive tend to be stronger healthier polyploid plant. Man's tinkering with plant genetics started long before man understood the term genetic.
After the first generation, polyploidy genetics are passed on without any trace of colchicine or genetic manipulation.

Meaning that only ignorant people want non-gmo, because they do not know what it truly means to the human diet.

Jan 11, 2017 at 4:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterATheoK

George is seeing a positive.

Jan 11, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterhusq

Here's an idea, Dork: how 'bout you don't?

Jan 11, 2017 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterShindig

Eaten by what Dork? - a dog? a sacrificial lamb? a devourer of knowledge? or just a good Samaritan? Think of your loss as devine intervention or the product of entreaties from the multitudes.

Jan 11, 2017 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

ATheoK. Thank you for such an informative post. Coupled with Wiki, I now know many new things that have puzzled/fascinated me - such as the origin of seedless watermelon. Never too old to learn and to be interested all over again.

Jan 11, 2017 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

It was genuinely eaten.
It was longwinded......but only because yee guys lack all historical context.
Why are the British allmost to a man hostile to both rational and humane distributionism.
We are all victims of the enclosures (capitalist concentration) but yee especially seem to lack all memory.

Your heroic Brexit attempt is being used as a savage tool against yee guys.
Yet another shoulder to the wheel fixation for negative net gain.
Another variation of war economy rationing.

The data is very very extreme boys and girls.
To repeat a 12 % drop in domestoc energy consumption.
A weaker currency does not enable consumption.

Jan 11, 2017 at 3:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

As systems scale up more and more energy is lost in the cracks.
With the Tudor conquest of Munster Cork became a large town all of a sudden.
It was a consequence of monopoly rather then "free trade"
The entire road system changed with all paths leading to that monopoly exchange.
The loss of energy was extreme.
Think of the amount of oats required to sustain donkeys travelling up to a 100 miles to market.
Previously it was a short hop to the nearest coastal settlement.
Compare and contrast the ancient road network with the modern usury period.
One was a organic low energy input process.
The modern was quite different.

Jan 11, 2017 at 3:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Still the shortest distance between the interior of the Iveagh to the coast.
If walking this remains the quickest way to Waterville.
Subsumed in bog when usury became embedded in the system.
The. modern roads were no longer designed for local exchange.
Roads were solely designed to extract wealth out.

I believe Nick Crane produced a BBC series about ancient roads.
Its worth a look.

Jan 11, 2017 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

If Roundup is dangerous, can we be allowed to have good old Sodium Chlorate weedkiller back? It killed the weeds on my drive for a couple of years, Roundup at huge extra cost kills them for six months if I'm lucky. But then it's really all about profit not danger and health risks.

Jan 11, 2017 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterEnglish Pensioner

Its unfortunate but the UK seems to be going down that now worn path of a " free state " relationship with the larger union.
This always and I mean always involves high farce to degree once thought impossible.
Believe me in such dire and controlled circumstances its best never to leave.

True independence requires that you kill the dragon.
The Dragon happens to live inside a cave in London.
So distance from source is not a excuse for the English.

Jan 11, 2017 at 6:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

People eat cheap food because they do not have the income to buy the good stuff.
Its really that simple.
All monopoly capitalist countries have a gap between net income and prices.
People have little choice but to buy from the large combine or ranch.
This unnatural gap thus favours ranch style production.
There is no evidence to suggest that large farms produce more per acre.
They are more "efficient" in the use of labour or machinary but what use is efficiency if nobody can buy production.
The "efficiency " we see all around us is a capitalist illusion.
The greatest and sickest joke of our lifetimes.

Jan 12, 2017 at 1:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Dork, how much of your own food do you grow? How many of your own possessions do you make yourself from materials that you you have mined yourself? Very little I expect.

A friend of mine, an apprentice trained fitter and machinist, told me about a rich acquaintance who was restoring a classic car and needed a part for it. The craftsman made the part in front of his rather unpractical friend who said afterwards "I had no idea how complicated manufacturing was". Most people have no idea.

You are hankering after a mythical bye-gone age, falling for the agrarian utopia myth, the bucolic idyll, where we all get along in small communities growing and making everything we need. It was never such an idyll in the pre-industrial age. And it was a precarious existence. And it was long hard work. I thank God I live in an era of mass production, something that Greens want to kill, rather than improve.

Jan 12, 2017 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterBudgie

Dork. "People eat cheap food because they do not have the income to buy the good stuff. Its really that simple."

Utter bovine excrement - numerous surveys have shown people with low incomes tend to by convenience (and often less healthy, sometimes "junk" ) food, rather than cheaper basic foods that require preparation. Thus your basic premise is rendered worthless.

Jan 12, 2017 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

St. ACK; I know a 'Miss Marple' on another blog who's worked at a food charity in Indiana. Dried beans are almost impossible to move.

But you still labor under some error, of what sort of category I'm not sure. I know people who live on rice and beans. They know the meaning of the term 'gas money', too, and it ain't for the main utility.

Jan 12, 2017 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Heh, it might translate as 'Petrol Pennies'.

From yours and my past, a child's hallowed eve:

'The lane is very dirty
And my shoes are very thin;
I've got a little pocket
To put a penny in.
If you haven't got a penny,
A ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny,
May God bless you.'

Jan 12, 2017 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

You gotta watch out for the widows, once no longer duty bound to preparing three meals a day, who subsist on ice cream alone and present with iron deficient anemia.

Jan 12, 2017 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

ATheoK on Jan 11, 2017 at 4:40 AM

"God forbid someone starts droning at me about non-GMO foods. If they're lucky, I tell to raise their own non-GMO foods."

If only they could! GMO plants can spread their genetics on the wind to non-GMO crops. Non-GMO crops can then become unplanned GMOs! Organic foods become non-organic, which means lost contracts for those growing them, and they can be sued for stealing the GMO IP rights:
Supreme Court hands Monsanto victory over farmers on GMO seed patents, ability to sue

The fact that this is controlled by BIG-PHARMA (and BIG-FARMER) makes the situation worse.

And then we have the problem of never properly being able to prove a negative. GMO technology is nothing like plant or animal breeding at all: the design is done at atomic level, with little connection to the macro world, and the change is forced, not persuaded. Feed GMOs to the poor helpless and gormless, but there needs to be a method of isolating GMOs if, or when, they are shown over time to be detrimental to human and animal health. If GMOs are grown, any food product that uses them, and any animals fed them, need to be explicitly labelled so the public have a choice.

Thalidomide was supposed to be safe. The MMR triple vaccines were supposed to be really safe, yet whistle blowers are coming forward with serious questions, in addition to stating how 'agenda driven' the whole 'Scientific' effort was, like this report mentioning a past Chief Scientific Officer at the DoH:
Boom: another vaccine whistleblower steps out of the shadows

"Meaning that only ignorant people want non-gmo, because they do not know what it truly means to the human diet."

I see you like irony. :)

Agriculture is more resilient if a variety of crops are grown and it probably would help to provide a varied diet, so this would preclude a preponderance of mono-culture crops. There are many other avenues to improve agricultural yields, but they usually involve more local activities, where the money is spread around more people.

Jan 12, 2017 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Kim, just because some people can barely afford to buy good food doesn't disprove that many of those who eat junk do so because they want to and can't be bothered to prepare something healthy.

Robert Christopher, the MMR article referred to a bumped Daily Mail article that was originally printed years ago. The comments by Dr Peter Fletcher (who was CMO in the 70s and probably long retured). The comments were probably made when the Andrew Wakefield paper was published and rehashed every year until Andrew Wakefield was struck off and the MMR paper withdrawn in 2009. MMR scare has had no new fuel for years. I doubt anyone would have been alarmed by Wakefield's study if he hadn't used practices that make Mann look like a saint. Peer review didn't pick it up. NSS!

No medicine, vaccine or even food is entirely safe.

Jan 12, 2017 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Where did I say a lone wolf existence is generally successful?
I am not against money or cooperation , just the. porposeful monopoly capitalist gap between prices and income.
Perhaps it was a precarious existence but not especially hard work.
You are mixing up early capitalist servile peasantry need to grow food for export to concentrated urban populations (very hard work) and true pre capitalist peasants.
The islanders of the Blaskets were cut off from the mainland scarcity by very strong tides.
Many fishermen died at sea but they had a jolly good time while alive for the most part.
Certainly a lot of free time was available.
Meanwhile mainland Ireland was a Victorian dystopia.
This contrast is well documented in accounts of the time.

Jan 12, 2017 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

Me thinks Supertroll watches "Little Britain "and assumes its based on authorative survey data....

Hyping elements of truth to make quasi political observations without real information is quite dangerous.
Sure cheap fruit from Spain and New Zealand seems like a good thing on the surface but the costs imposed on the consumers to insure the continuation of ranch production is gigantic.

Manchester "free trade" economics is spurious .
Its a forced trade system where the monopoly imposes costs on non monopoly actors to insure continuation of the monopoly producers.
Yee guys should read a Irishman by the name of Crotty.
A agricultural economist who understood the very nature of the EU from the get go.

Jan 12, 2017 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

The Irish food retail landscape has segmented into 2 types of stores.
The German retail monopolists (ALDI &Lidl) catering for the segment of the population with perhaps some cashflow and little savings.
The quality of the produce is very low.
However given that consumerism is now the de facto replacement religion it allows all classes to engage in the sacrements even if they can only be allowed to buy some plastic shit .

The other is Dunnes Stores.
They have introduced a new currency into circulation .
Essentially a 10euro token which you receive when 50 euros of goods are bought.
This favours and captures people with savings looking to reduce expenditure .
And thats about it.
Almost all other retailers have been wiped out because of the enormous gap between prices and income in Ireland.
Capitalism is not what it says on the tin.
It is really the enforement of monopoy chiefly through the monetary system but if that does not work physical violence is a option.

The waste of phyical inputs is enormous.

Jan 12, 2017 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

"Yee guys should read a Irishman by the name of Crotty.
A agricultural economist who understood the very nature of the EU from the get go."

We voted for Brexit so we wouldn't have to.

Jan 12, 2017 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Dork. I suggest that, instead of taking up time to insult me, you do some research of your own. Spouting off on subjects of which you appear to have no knowledge is hardly appropriate for a Corkish economic seer. Try googling "poverty" and "obesity", where you will find the strong links between poverty and poor diet (commonly junk food) and poor diet and obesity.

Jan 12, 2017 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Jeez, so this is what it's like to have one's article Dorked. Yeuch!

Jan 12, 2017 at 4:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Flindt

Heh, CF, our kind Corkish pilgrim.

Jan 12, 2017 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Ha ha ha ,Crotty was perhaps the greatest anti EU campaigner of our time .
He fought the law (Dublin castle) and actually won a battle but the law won (after his death)in the end.

His name is never mentioned in Irish pravada now.
His books are unknown.

You will soon find your vote counts for very little.
A vote without ownership means nothing.

Jan 12, 2017 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Dork of Cork

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