Keep fruit and vegetables in daylight to boost nutrients 

The Telegraph – Thursday 20th June

Following on from Radio 4’s discussion of dying strawberries on Monday’s The Infinite Monkey Cage, it turns out that it is indeed true that fruit and vegetables continue to live after they’ve been picked. For about a week after picking, their cells remain active and they respond to cycles of light and dark. Apparently, sticking them into a dark cupboard shortens their life span and impacts their nutrient levels.

While all this interesting, it raises a more salient point about the value of buying produce locally. After it has travelled the many days and miles that most produce travels in our global food system, it is usually well passed its critical survival period and is dead on arrival on your plate. It’s less nutritious and likely doesn’t taste anything near as good as it would if it had just been picked. So with a summer of British fruit and vegetables ahead, forego your local supermarket and find a good farmer’s or producer’s market in your area to experience the difference. 

CAP reform deal agreed in Brussels

Farmers Guardian – Wednesday 26th June

The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is once again coming to a disappointing conclusion. The CAP uses large amounts of taxpayer’s money to support farmers and food production. It should be reformed to ensure that food is produced in ways that are sustainable into the future and benefit rather than harm the environment. Unfortunately, despite the debatable ‘greening’ of the CAP, this has not happened. In fact, there has been so much horse trading in order to get agreement between the 27 EU member states that it is now essentially a Compromise Agricultural Policy.

Below is a compilation of some reactions to the agreement:

Fairtrade Foundation, “Common Agricultural Policy Reform decision will push smallholder cane sugar farmers into poverty” www.fairtrade.org.uk/press_office/press_releases_and_statements/june_2013/common_agricultural_policy_reform_decision_will_push_smallholder_cane_sugar_farmers_into_poverty.aspx

RSPB, “Farming reform signals tough times ahead for wildlife” www.rspb.org.uk/media/releases/348545-farming-reform-signals-tough-times-ahead-for-wildlife

Soil Association, “Good news for organic farming in the CAP (2014 – 2020) agreement”  www.soilassociation.org/news/newsstory/articleid/5577/good-news-for-organic-farming-in-the-cap-2014-2020-agreement

Photograph by Vedran Vrhovac

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