‘Local,’ ‘seasonal’ and ‘sustainable’ – it’s true that just one of these words alone carries weight when it comes to discussions about ethical food and eating, but they can each have a raft of interpretations. Separately and without consideration they fall well short of any real environmentally-friendly meaning and miss the point. And I for one am tired of all the misinformation and half-hearted claims businesses make about selling ethical, sustainable or organic products.
For example, if you only sell ‘Ethical Meat’ but don’t care about the local seafood industry – then what claims are you actually making? Or if you shamelessly sell and promote a respected ethical brand while actually selling another – how is that not fraud?
If a restaurant sells organic produce, but also stocks imported bottled mineral water, what are they trying to communicate? Claims like ‘all organic food tastes better’? No, it doesn’t! How can excellent food grown harmoniously within its ecosystem taste bad because it does not have official organic certification?
Then there are those who claim that eating meat is unethical and unsustainable, without a care or understanding about those educated and skilled farmers whose husbandry and farm management play a crucial part in a bio-diverse eco system.
Don’t get me wrong, I see the local and global food environment to be a lot more conscious of their impact than ever before and I celebrate everyone’s efforts. It’s truly an exciting time and we have certainly come a long way, but I would caution those who make claims without being able to be offer transparency to instead concentrate on this issue. Transparency carries so much more weight than sensational claims; so be straight up with customers, stand by your claims but also be prepared to change your opinion when necessary.
Recently I heard a very powerful phrase, which I will now pass on to you dear readers:“It’s not about having all the answers, it’s about being a part of the process.”