Film, food and fuel prices

This weekend there’s a Slow Food mini-film fest in Victoria, taking place at the Hotel Grand Pacific. For a trifling $25 you can attend the premiere night on Friday, to watch locally-made documentary Island on the Edge and enjoy a splendid reception featuring local treats including but not limited to: Sea Cider, freshly shucked Cortes Island oysters from the Oyster Man, and duck confit made from Cowichan Bay Farm duck legs.

Anyone wanting to stay on top of food issues in Canada can subscribe to mailings from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, or just check the Food Recalls & Allergy Alerts page for the latest. There’s been another BSE case, Canada’s 13th, whose investigation makes interesting reading.

I spent some time catching up on the Food Programme‘s recent reports, which included a thoughtful piece on organics in Britain. There’s been a decline in organic producers there, it seems, because the logistics of producing organic meat and dairy products involve a great deal of imported grain – which became quite a problem with the recent fuel price spike and the world-wide shortage of wheat. In addition, the higher price tag on food in general, but particularly organics – due to fuel and grain prices as well as the overall higher price of producing organic foods -have led to something called the “Lidl Effect” (named after a discount supermarket chain) where consumers are turning away from organics in favour of price-centred shopping. In the program, it’s argued that true organics (which fall within the upcoming EU legislation governing the area) require that producers use a virtuous circle production method, where each farm is more or less self-sufficient, producing its own grain to feed its livestock. They question the inclusion of large, industrial-scale organic producers who are watering down the guiding principles of organic food production.

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