Bigger and better?

It’s often said that we need large-scale commercial farms to feed everyone. Even in South Africa, the flawed argument is often raised that large-scale commercial farms are inherently better than small farms.

I was interested to hear recently that China, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and one that’s self-sufficient in food, is almost entirely fed by small-scale farmers. Beijing, a metropolis of just under 20 million people, is fed by 80 million small-scale farmers (German link).

All this at the same time as the forest cover in the country is expanding rapidly.

Unfortunately, the western hemisphere sees a different story. The rate of deforestation in the Amazon, after a number of years of decrease, is on the increase again. The loss is mostly due to soya plantations, usually genetically-modified and mainly used for livestock feed. And most of those eating the resultant hamburgers have no clue of the chain of destruction they’re supporting.

The Brazilian government isn’t helping – their congress has recently approved an amendment to the forest code that will likely expand logging if it gets through the senate.

Although the developed world is seeing its forest cover expand rapidly, this doesn’t compensate for the loss of wild primary forest, with its rich biodiversity.

There’s still hope though. Our 2009 video featuring Willie Smits – A 20-year tale of hope: Re-growing a rainforest has been one of our most popular. This week we post another Willie Smits video.

Cardamon is well-known spice with a unique, strong taste. It’s commonly-used in Indian cooking, and also as a medicine in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, mainly to improve digestion and to assist with bad breath and mouth infections. We sell both the powdered form and the pods, but I’d recommend getting to know your mortar and pestle and grinding them yourself. Like most spices, cardamon loses flavour and effectiveness quickly once its ground.

Collection points closed
Thursday June 16 is Youth Day, and a public holiday. Many of our collection points will be closed, and it’s also the start of school holidays for some. Please remember to cancel your order if you’re not going to be around.

Have a great week,
Ian and the Ethical team

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