Green and Ethical Food

Options
I started this thread so we can discuss green and ethical food and how it can save money as well as providing better nutrition and regenerating our soil and ecosystems.
Meat:- Food animals that are "fed naturally" as in grass fed cattle offer better nutrition than grain fed, steroid enhanced animals pumped full of antibiotics and kept in confined spaces to maximise profit. Each beast will be more expensive to keep and this will obviously make meat more expensive. But, the better nutrition will mean that we do not need to eat so much of it to get the health benefits.

The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
«13456

Comments

  • JKenH
    JKenH Posts: 4,875 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    edited 15 October 2020 at 12:34PM
    Options
    Probably a god idea to buy your meat, eggs etc from a farm shop where you can check the produce has been raised locally, healthily and ethically. It also cuts down the food miles and supports the local economy. 

    Nice to see the reference in the original post to “beasts”. I was brought up on a farm and we never called them cows. 
    Northern Lincolnshire. 7.8 kWp system, (4.2 kw west facing panels , 3.6 kw east facing), Solis inverters, Solar IBoost water heater, Mitsubishi SRK35ZS-S and SRK20ZS-S Wall Mounted Inverter Heat Pumps, ex Nissan Leaf owner)
  • Exiled_Tyke
    Exiled_Tyke Posts: 1,193 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    May be it was dangerous to suggest this. After all we all have different ideas of what we find to be ethical.  For example if we accept (and we don't have to) that we want a diary industry then unwanted male calves are a by-product which suggests that veal could be ethical. (I'm not referring to crated milk-raised veal here).  

    The point that Martyn raises is that of meat production being a drain on world resources and ultimately is not sustainable.  That they poses the question of whether eating game is more ethical i.e. eating wild animals which will exist without farming (so managed grouse moors do not count).   I did hear an argument that if more people ate venison there would be better control of our growing deer population and we would be eating meat which doesn't have such a terrible environmental impact. 
    Install 28th Nov 15, 3.3kW, (11x300LG), SolarEdge, SW. W Yorks.
    Install 2: Sept 19, 600W SSE
    Solax 6.3kWh battery
  • JKenH
    JKenH Posts: 4,875 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Options
    You are right, we all have different views of what is ethical. For instance, I regard good conditions for the animals and husbandry using as few chemicals and antibiotics as possible as an important ethical issue whereas others may consider it unethical to eat animals at all as they are sentient. Others may consider it to be unethical to eat meat because of its AGW impact. 

    Fun times ahead. 
    Northern Lincolnshire. 7.8 kWp system, (4.2 kw west facing panels , 3.6 kw east facing), Solis inverters, Solar IBoost water heater, Mitsubishi SRK35ZS-S and SRK20ZS-S Wall Mounted Inverter Heat Pumps, ex Nissan Leaf owner)
  • Hexane
    Hexane Posts: 520 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    NigeWick said:
    I started this thread so we can discuss green and ethical food and how it can save money as well as providing better nutrition and regenerating our soil and ecosystems.
    Meat:- Food animals that are "fed naturally" as in grass fed cattle offer better nutrition than grain fed, steroid enhanced animals pumped full of antibiotics and kept in confined spaces to maximise profit. Each beast will be more expensive to keep and this will obviously make meat more expensive. But, the better nutrition will mean that we do not need to eat so much of it to get the health benefits.

    I was interested in what evidence there was for these statements so I did a quick search. This article using Australian and USA farming practices as the basis for comparison says that "Grass-fed beef may contain less total fat than grain-fed beef, but a lot more omega-3 fatty acids and CLA, which are both linked to health benefits" and "grass-fed beef contains more carotenoids, vitamin E, and other antioxidants." It does go on to say that "Even though grass-fed beef contains higher amounts of certain nutrients, there is currently no compelling evidence that it’s significantly healthier than grain-fed beef in the context of a balanced diet" because the differences are small.

    I don't think that the amount of beef I eat is governed by the amount of omega-3 fatty acids I'm aiming to get from a portion. On the other hand, I'm not enthusiastic about eating imported U.S. beef fattened in "concentrated animal feeding operations" when grass-fed British or Irish beef is available at reasonable cost from my supermarket anyway. Same goes for chlorine-washed chicken.

    Regarding re-generating our soil and ecosystems, I'm open to the viewpoint that even traditional farming methods (for example hill-farming of lamb meat) are actually a method of food production that keeps vast tracts of the countryside in an unnatural state; the amount of land used to produce a given quantity of meat is vastly higher using these methods. If we all ate a lot less meat (and dairy?) then much more of our countryside could be left in a natural state with natural ecosystems. Having trees on our hills (where possible) is going to be a lot better for the environment, for example, than having lots of ruminants on them as we do at present.

    Right now our fridge and freezer are full of British chicken, turkey, pork, beef and salmon sourced from our local supermarket but also several vegan "fake meat" products (soy mince, vegan burgers, vegan chicken-style pieces etc.) and large quantities of soy milk for cereal. I encourage those who don't want to adopt a vegan (or even flexitarian) lifestyle to try out meat alternatives for an occasional meal or for some products as opposed to all products.
    7.25 kWp PV system (4.1kW WSW & 3.15kW ENE), Solis inverter, myenergi eddi & harvi for energy diversion to immersion heater. myenergi hub for Virtual Power Plant demand-side response trial.
  • silverwhistle
    Options
    It's a massive and complex subject, certainly if my bookshelves are any example, although many of mine seem to be on the subject of  wine..
    I think whatever your particular position may be it behoves us to think about where our food comes from. I'm neither vegan or vegetarian but I'm interested in food, eating and drinking. I'll accept a free brace of pheasants and I'll draw and pluck them myself, and I've gutted and eaten fish I've caught  and also have an allotment. A bit of first hand contact with what you eat I think is always a good thing.
    The link between increased wealth and more meat eating is well known, but I'd also say that wealth has also helped vegetarianism. Far easier to be vegetarian with access to world wide produce, particularly the spices and interesting ingredients that lift a meal. As an Italian friend in the mountains observed, we owe a great debt to South America as what would they be eating in her area without maize (polenta), tomatoes, chillies and potatoes? A similar observation could be made for the more northerly wetter and cooler confines of Europe where veganism existing on oats, turnips and beans would never have been an attractive option! A bit of fish, mussels, honey, cheese and milk and the odd hare would have been welcome relief.
    The farmer's market is in the village this Saturday, and as someone who is a lot better off than myself noted, it's rather expensive. I'll no doubt buy some eggs from one stall and maybe a small portion of their chicken livers: you don't need a lot to make a really tasty risotto. If I do buy more meat it may well be something like a saddle of muntjac, which will be a real treat for when I'm entertaining.
    Having said that I think my main purchase last month was a bottle of 48% strength locally produced gin!
  • Ectophile
    Ectophile Posts: 7,381 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Options
    We often hear about how the supermarkets are squeezing the farmers on price, and taking all the profits for themselves.  So why is it that the produce in farm shops and farmers' markets is always more expensive than the equivalent food in the local supermarket?
    If it sticks, force it.
    If it breaks, well it wasn't working right anyway.
  • NigeWick
    NigeWick Posts: 2,717 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Debt-free and Proud!
    Options
    May be it was dangerous to suggest this. After all we all have different ideas of what we find to be ethical. 
    Good point. For me, ethical is regenerative agriculture and meat production. Properly managed cattle can actually sequester more carbon in their grasslands than trees will. 

    That said, @tonyseba projects that we'll be eating cheap precision fermented protein in a few years time. If that is the case I think regenerative agriculture which includes animal inputs will be viable economically because it is now.
    The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • NigeWick
    NigeWick Posts: 2,717 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Debt-free and Proud!
    Options
    Ectophile said:
    We often hear about how the supermarkets are squeezing the farmers on price, and taking all the profits for themselves.  So why is it that the produce in farm shops and farmers' markets is always more expensive than the equivalent food in the local supermarket?
    I think it could be because the produce in farm shops and farmers' markets is often organic. I know the couple of farm shops within 5 miles of me are. And, when there was a stall in the town market, the meat sold was grass fed and finished beef & venison.
    The mind of the bigot is like the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour upon it, the more it will contract.
    Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • Exiled_Tyke
    Exiled_Tyke Posts: 1,193 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper
    Options
    Ectophile said:
    We often hear about how the supermarkets are squeezing the farmers on price, and taking all the profits for themselves.  So why is it that the produce in farm shops and farmers' markets is always more expensive than the equivalent food in the local supermarket?
    I think it's just a question of market demand.  Customers at farmers markets are prepared to pay a bit more to support the producer. There's also a possibility of an economy of scale issue. A seller at a farmers' market has to pay the cost of transporting a relatively small amount of produce and tie up someone for the day to sell.   Supermarkets argue that whilst they do squeeze prices, they pass the savings on to customers.  And of course supermarkets squeeze farmers in other ways too not just price: delaying payments or in the case of the story covered by Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall,  placing orders and then cancelling them after the farmer has lifted the crops so they go to waste. 

    Install 28th Nov 15, 3.3kW, (11x300LG), SolarEdge, SW. W Yorks.
    Install 2: Sept 19, 600W SSE
    Solax 6.3kWh battery
  • shinytop
    shinytop Posts: 2,101 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper Photogenic
    Options
    Supermarkets are very, very good at what they do, which is to buy, transport, store and sell food (and other stuff).  They are very efficient; their costs and overheads per unit are low and they are low margin high volume operations. They also usually have several  competitors nearby selling exactly the same stuff as they do.  Farmer's markets and farm shops are comparatively inefficient and are low volume, high margin operations.  Their customers are more affluent and can choose to pay more for the privilege.  There aren't normally 3 other similar shops within a few miles either.

    I'm not convinced a farm shop is any greener or more ethical than a supermarket for a lot of things, although I don't know.  Having said that I do use farm shops, because I like what they sell and |I like to support local businesses.  
Meet your Ambassadors

Categories

  • All Categories
  • 343.7K Banking & Borrowing
  • 250.3K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 450K Spending & Discounts
  • 235.9K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 609K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 173.4K Life & Family
  • 248.5K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards