Thursday 17 January 2013

The North wind

rear of Lakes Lane from the common

It's pretty damn cold, to state the blindingly obvious, and all thoughts of gardening have been put on hold until we get some sort of a spring thaw.

Which has left me roaming around on the internets getting peeved and overheated at the number of miserable indignities humans inflict on other humans, animals and the environment.

Most notably was a truly odd piece in the Guardian, which I'm not going to link to, where the writer felt it was appropriate to put vegans in the frame for causing food price inflation in Bolivia. Apparently because we've caused such a clamorous demand for quinoa poor farmers are forced to eat junk food instead, it's cheaper. There's some other guff about rain forests and soy, conveniently overlooking that most soy is grown to feed the beef also farmed there and an overworked but valid comment about Peruvian asparagus, at least she doesn't hold the vegetarians responsible for that.

There are so many points that this raises I'm overwhelmed by the possibilities of writing a lengthy tome correcting all her poor reporting and mistaken interpretation but it's also the sort of thing that XKCD explains so well here, and I have to tell myself it's not worth it.

I will mildly remind younger readers that quinoa has been promoted as a valuable cash crop for the Andean subsistence communities, that food futures trading and globalisation are destroying many small farmer's lives and that the whole western population drives the consumption of quinoa and other third world products, not just bogeymen vegans and veggies who quite frankly are more likely to be aware of the issues than the average Waitrose shopping Guardianista.

In fact, coming as it did on the day the horsemeat in burgers story broke I hold an unworthy suspicion that it was a stock piece, held back to release at a moment when the meat lobby needed something to deflect from their own poor performance. What better way to forget that burgers are made from lovely cuddly ponies than to remind the public that vegans have two heads and kill babies whilst laughing maniacally over their wholesome grain salads? Could I be right? I doubt we'll ever know.

By the way, if you're concerned about the provenance of your chenopod grains you can grow your own . Whether this will improve the lot of farmers hoping to cash in on Western fads and earn a living or not, I leave to your own consciences.

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