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E-Coli and Good Intentions

June 7, 2011,
Claire Montanaro

While the source of the current global e-coli outbreak is unknown still, this latest food scare is likely to be found to be associated with faecal contamination caused through insanitary and/or careless farming methods - again.

Even though food and water are the most precious necessities for our human lives, often it is taken for granted and dishonoured in the way it is produced, handled and consumed. This time, rather than poor animal husbandry, it is organic salad stuffs produced commercially which are in the spotlight and it is mainly health-conscious women who are affected. This has been a rude awakening for the many people who buy organic food in the belief that it is grown in an ethos of simplicity and purity, and very differently from the alternative big commercial farms. It does happen, but not very often, and the term “organic” applies, I believe, only to farming methods which use fewer chemicals and pesticides; this is excellent in its own way but limited.

What is good about this situation is that the gravity of the outbreak will result in a greater scrutiny and awareness of the intricacies of the food supply chain, but for now it is unlikely to change farmers’ and most consumers’ attitude as to how food and water should be respected in its own right. It may put a question mark over the definition of organic food, assisting us to know more about how it was produced not just whether it has fewer chemicals. I hope very much that the genuine small organic farmer will not be so restricted by new red tape he or she goes out of business.

In Rhayader, my nearest small town a few miles from where I live there is a wonderful health shop called The Wild Swan which sells a small selection of locally grown fruit and vegetables.They are produced in someone’s back garden or allotment or smallholding, grown with love and not for great profit. The potatoes are dirty and the carrots wonky in shape but they came out of the ground just a day or two before and still wear the Welsh soil in which they grew. This, for me, is what organic means.

It may not be possible, now, for such food as I buy in the Wild Swan to be available to everyone but then, not everyone wants it - for now. Many do, however, and it would be wonderful if more truly good food were available locally, to serve and help those people who understand the importance of the body and what we put in it - like those who suffer now in Germany and elsewhere as a result, perhaps, of their good intentions and being let down by those they trusted to fulfil them.


Claire Montanaro is a spiritual teacher, channel and blogger with special interest in esoteric philosophy and the world in transition. Loves nature and wildlife. Author of "Spiritual Wisdom”.

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