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Environment & ethics   |   Ethical business   |   Organics

Your questions answered

Ever wondered what rewilding actually means? Or what’s the difference between grass-fed and organic? Or perhaps you’ve heard it’s good to cut down meat but don’t know why or how? It can be daunting and sometimes even impossible to make the best ethical choice, or navigate the greenwash that is out there in busy lives when you don't always have the time to look into the detail.

Now is the chance to ask the questions you might have always wondered about and pick the brains of Wicked Leeks’ pool of writers, including editor Nina Pullman, Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson, environmental journalist Anna Turns or organic gardening expert Sarah Brown, of gardening charity Garden Organic. Send in your questions by email to wickedleeks@riverford.co.uk or comment below this article. Questions and answers will be published in the next print issue of Wicked Leeks, out in early August. 

    Comments

    Jane Edwards

    1 Month

    Why is it taking so long to reduce single use plastics? I accept some products would be difficult to be repackaged in something more sustainable. However, many should be easy. Pasta, rice, tea spring to mind, and there are probably thousands more. So why is it taking so long to make packaging more sustainable?

    1 Reply

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    Mark Bevis

    1 Month

    That's easy. Plastic is a waste byproduct of the oil refining business. If the oil companies hadn't found a way to monetise it back in the 1950s-60s or whenever, then each oil refinery on the planet would have a mountain of black gunk piled high, probably higher than Everest. Luckily for the oil companies, there was enough surplus energy in the system to convert the waste to plastics

    So you will never get rid of plastic until you get rid of oil refining, which means ending fossil fuel production, which by default will mean the end of this current set of living arrangements we misname civilisation and the reduction of the population to more sustainable levels of 500,000,000 worldwide.

    https://consciousnessofsheep.co.uk/2018/02/19/the-plastic-trap/

    0 Reply

    DianaR

    1 Month

    Why is it more expensive for me to go to the refill shop, with my own container and fill it with, say liquid soap, laundry liquid etc. when those items are supplied in huge containers. It should be cheaper surely? Or is it just the place I use?! Last time I bought some liquid soap it cost three times as much as the hand soap I'd bought from the supermarket. I'm happy to pay more as I understand about economies of scale, but sometimes feel as though the prices are just too high to encourage people with little disposable income. Also - there is little info about the provenance of these refill products - what is in them, are they vegan, do they use sustainable palm oil etc.

    0 Reply

    jacquimartin08@yahoo.co.uk

    1 Month

    If you’re on a budget but really want to make a difference where’s the best place to start?

    0 Reply

    njh007

    1 Month

    Where can someone find beef/pork/chicken/lamb that has been reared on small scale permaculture farms?

    0 Reply

    adam42

    1 Month

    Can you do a carbon footprint comparison between a veggie box and the same items from a supermarket shopping basket? Maybe include some extra goodies like strawberries , eggs, bread, samphire etc.

    I'm not sure whether to suggest you include meat as well or compare it separately.

    0 Reply

    Doingmybest

    1 Month

    I live in North-east London and struggle to avoid supermarkets. I would appreciate a list of organic shops and suppliers, including refill shops which seem to be totally absent in my neck of the woods. The nearest I can find is halfway to Southend on the A127.

    I agree with DianaR that it seems counter-intuitive that refill shops are more expensive. Is there a valid reason for it?

    0 Reply

    Climatebodger

    1 Month

    So many questions: Which has the smaller carbon footprint - beans (or tomatoes or whatever) grown in Spain/Morocco/Kenya using natural light and flown to market, or those grown in the Netherlands, UK or northern France inside greenhouses. And why isn’t this information transparent?

    And if you feel like dipping into transport, how many miles a year do you have to travel before you can justify converting your fleet to electric vehicles given the huge carbon emissions involved in making the batteries (and the rest of the vehicle)?

    0 Reply

    hecate

    1 Month

    Is it right for us to use coir in bags of compost so that we can stop using our peat resources? Many countries it comes from have problems with food production and soil loss/deterioration themselves - why should they lose their own resource?
    Should we be ending the relatively modern 'garden centre' model of cheap seasonal plants - piled high and sold in non-recyclable plastic? Would we be better going back to the old style 'nursery' where you ordered your bare rooted plants - grown in the field - and collected them in the autumn - which gave them time to settle in and grow well the following summer?
    Should we aim for real content instead of fashion?!

    0 Reply

    jdholloway1@live.co.uk

    1 Month

    I became interested in ethical issues when Greenpeace started, I set up and ran the Bournemouth Fundraising group 31 years ago. We were also one of Riverford's first customers to have a veg box. Since .then though - exasperation. So little has changed. I'm beginning to think there cannot be a sustainable / ethical / environmentally friendly consumerist society while we still have a capitalist world. While it benefits big business to be unethical why should it change? Change has to come from governments but governments are run by corporations / big business. In you article it stated that 97% of people believe we are using too much plastic. So why do they go to the supermarket!!! Change has to come from the top. We need to influence a few important politicians....

    0 Reply

    frappemarzipan

    1 Month

    How is the organic registration held accountable? How do I really know that my organic bananas are not being treated with chemicals etc. outside of the requirements?

    0 Reply

    frappemarzipan

    1 Month

    Why are residents not informed when a field they live next to is about to be sprayed with pesticide?

    0 Reply

    frappemarzipan

    1 Month

    Why aren't there educational adverts on TV informing general viewers about where their food comes from, since this is such an important topic and affects everyone?

    0 Reply

    Jill D

    1 Month

    With the production of meat having a very high carbon footprint, is it not time for Riverford to consider following their ethical slogan of 'Live life on the veg' and abandon the sale of meat within their business?

    0 Reply

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