Picture the scene, I have written my list of supermarket requirements for the coming week and am now standing in the first aisle of the Co-op....the chiller section of the fruit and veg aisle.
Muttering: Right - beans.....beans......ah here they are........hmmmm - so there's a pack from Kenya or a pack from Holland. OK - the ones from Holland are certified organic (casts an eye down to the price box) and that explains the price. They look nice though.
I pick up the Kenyan packet. Ah - these are less expensive, and also look nice. BUT they're not organic. Ah - and of course, they are from much further away, so there are all those air miles to consider.......Holland is a lot closer to us, so less air miles.
I put the Dutch beans in my basket and put the Kenyan beans back.....and then take the Dutch beans out of the basket and pick up the Kenyan beans again.
Let's just think about this a bit more. The Dutch beans will sell anyway, but what about those Kenyan farmers who are really DEPENDING on these beans being sold? Even though they are not organic....they might be produced with hardly any pesticides and kinda BE organic, but just not satisfy a three word phrase of some fat-cat beaurocrat in Brussels or something in order to get that Organic stamp.
I look at the Dutch ones. But these ARE organic. The Dutch farmers have invested lots of money and equipment in ensuring that these beans are really going to be ok to feed to Sonshine.
I lean heavily on the huge, empty trolley: Well, lets just think about this a bit more. It's probably VERY sunny in Kenya and not so sunny in Holland. Hmmmm - have the Dutch put up huge polytunnels that use enormous quantities of air-conditioning - or even HEATING - to produce these beans?
I put the Kenyan beans in the basket and put the Dutch beans back on the shelf.
But Holland is in the EU and we're all struggling to keep afloat in this economic climate....should I be supporting my clog-wearing cousins over the water?
I stand in the aisle of the supermarket with my two packets of beans - totally paralysed by the conflicting considerations rattling around inside my head like loose peas - I am unable to make a decision.
I put the Kenyan beans into the basket and regretfully put the Dutch beans back on the shelf. Holland will be alright during a recession, but what about Kenya? Would they be able to quickly diversify if the arse falls out the bean market thanks to those enterprising Dutch?
I look doubtfully at the Kenyan beans in my basket....it has taken me 7 minutes to buy the first item on my shopping list.
I scan the other 40-odd items on my shopping list gloomily and wonder how many hours and just what kind of gibbering wreck I will be by the time I hit the furthest aisle and face the moral quagmire that is......
21 Aug 2010
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