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The increasing need for more
organic farms
The UK is one of the first to feel the shortage
By
Anna May Kinney

 

Being an organic gardener and environmentalist most of my life, I'd love to see a world where everyone who could, would grow their own organic food. Trading or selling the surplus; and learning to put away enough to feed themselves until the next growing season.
Instead of boasting about our well-groomed lawns, we'd be leaning over the back yard fence sharing neighborly tips on how we grew our perfect tomatoes.


In the last few years there has been a boom in both vegetable and flower garden supplies, it seems as more communities ban chemical lawn care products, more people are learning that it really is not that much harder to grow food and flowers than it is to have a nicely manicured lawn. Many are turning parts of their lawns into flower and vegetable gardens.
With the questions presented by genetically modified crops, the increasing scare about bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and newfound fear of E. coli bacteria getting into the food chain, people everywhere are turning in large numbers to the organic food industry. But in many parts of the world there is already evidence of a shortage of these safe alternatives.


Recently two of Britain's leading supermarket chains Sainsbury and Iceland informed the Commons Select Committee on Agriculture that the UK farmers inability to grow enough organic food and the lack of an adequate number of processing plants that are certified to process chemical-free food, has meant they must import enough organic food to meet the increasing demand.


The lack of sufficient homegrown produce has resulted in higher transport costs; which are already being passed on to the consumer.


Right now, only about 3% of Britain's farmland is organic and about 70% of all organic food sold in British supermarkets already comes from overseas. With the organic market expected to grow by 40% in the next five years, a market that is worth millions of US or Canadian dollars in trade, this is becoming a great incentive for North American farmers to consider making the switch from conventional farming to organic farming.


While the British House of Commons debates setting money aside to help farmers convert from conventional farming to pesticide and chemical free farming, it's only a matter of time before Canada and the United States consider setting up such a program.


Even though it is great to see more people growing their own food, in reality only a small percentage of people can enjoy such independence. There will always be an increasing demand for commercially grown organic food, and a government program like the one being considered in the UK would benefit farmers, our government and consumers in the long run.

The end.