Welcome to 2009

It’s 2009, and the great news is that we’re open again for orders, so no more driving around the city trying to find the best organic produce; it can all be delivered to your door, or to your nearest collection point.

Many of us are lucky enough to have had a holiday over the past few weeks. I’ve just got back from 3 weeks in the Eastern Cape, and found myself doing the above-mentioned driving today, so I’m especially glad we’re open for orders again. Some of our suppliers and farmers are still on holiday though, so the range is rather limited this week. Everything should be back to normal by next week.

Maize Farming

Much of my holiday was spent in a remote rural community on the old Transkei coast. The people predominantly grow maize. A botanist was working with the community, one of the poorest and least educated in the country, and he proved a mine of information. Much of the maize crop is lost to pests. The answer is not further impoverishment by handing food security to a rapacious multinational claiming the latest and greatest pest-zapping genes, but smarter farming techniques.

Something as simple as growing maize with pumpkin and a legume will not only add some diversity, meaning that if the maize crop is diminished, there are alternatives to improve food security, but this simple change alone will improve the soil’s health, and ultimately increase the maize yields. Farming is all about the soil. If the soil is healthy, the crops will be much more robust and healthy, and, when we eat it, much more healthy for us too. Genetic tinkering misses the point entirely, and just leads to unhealthier food as it leads us down the wrong path.

Reading between the lines

Unethical food companies are quick to use marketing to mislead, jumping onto the latest health bandwagon to boost sales. As an example, soft drinks routinely splash the Vitamin C content on the label, attempting to mislead customers into believing that the drink is healthy, when, in fact, synthetic Vitamin C combined with sodium benzoate results in the formation of benzene, a carcinogen. I hope it goes without saying that even without benzene, soft drinks are far from healthy!

David Wolfe meets the Health Ranger

This week’s video is a longer one, so hopefully you’ve got extra bandwidth after taking a break in the holidays. The conversation ranges from nutrition, ADD, and minerals, to using plants over plastic for packaging, and much in between. Watch it here.

And to order, go to www.ethical.org.za

Have a great week,
the Co-op team