The increasing need for more
The UK is one of the first to feel the shortage
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
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
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
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
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.