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Soil Association trade conference 2023

As a customer of Macleod Organics I had the chance to attend (online) this year’s Soil Association conference optimistically titled ‘Organic for All’, in recognition that, in the UK, organic is currently expensive, elitist and niche. This needs to change!

The Soil Association set the scene promoting organic as best for Climate, Nature and Health with keynote speaker Climate Scientist Professor Tamsin Edwards following up with a sharp reminder of rising global temperatures, increasing liklihood of extreme weather events and crop failures (noticed the hike in price of olive oil yet?).

Shadow Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries Daniel Zeichner, who to his credit has held this post for 4 years and wishes to remain there (a lifetime these days and beats a lettuce!) promised that a future Labour Government will protect UK farmers from trade agreements that undermine our standards (US chlorinated chicken anyone?), ensure public procurement (schools, hospitals etc) must be a minimum of 50% from  ‘local’ suppliers but would not be drawn on commitment to organic. So we all know what to ask our prospective MPs looking for our votes very soon! Organic is best for Climate, best for Nature and best for Health. Organic needs support 🙏

My prize for  inspirational speaker of the day goes to Organic Denmark’s Mads Sejersen Vinther. The back story is the Danish government covered the certification costs for farmers to convert to organic. As a result, today 13% of Danish farmland is organic with a target to increase this to 30% by 2030.  In Denmark organic is mainstream with discount stores leading the way.  The Danish equivalent of Aldi carried out a  simple but effective marketing campaign highlighting the cruel lack of space given to an intensively farmed pig compared to the outdoor freedom demanded by organic standards.  Result? Organic Danish pork became the norm.

Meanwhile Organic Denmark confess that the amount of land for growing animal feed is too high. Public procurement of food must be a minimum of 60% organic (hospitals insist on 90%!) and as a result (due to cost) Danes are learning to love plant-based meals. Not bad for a nation famous for Danish bacon!

Posted by Macleod Organics customer Judy Beveridge, Nairn. She/her. Views my own.

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