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Canned Heat

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:39 am
by ojay54
Something Ina touched on in the slow cooker thread made me rationalise some thoughts enough to try and share them.

So cards on the table, conventional politics is of little interest to me,but it seems to me that most decisions I make are nevertheless political by default.Most of us are aware that much of the clothing you buy for your average 10 year old has been made by an 8 year old,but I wonder what the true cost of a tin of supermarket beans is? Somehow I think that 35p probably doesn't cover it.

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:02 am
by MKG
I know where you're going, OJ. But how far can you take it? The true cost of modern cheap foods is the advance of technology which led to (a long time ago, I know) chucking people off the land in their thousands - and some of those people starved. On the other hand, the introduction of that technology increased yields by huge amounts and so saved a lot of people from starvation. Paying modern food producers the world over what they deserve would inevitably increase the price of said foods and so put them out of the buying range of less-well-off consumers. no matter where they are.

How do you get off that roundabout?

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:06 am
by ina
Weelllll... where do you want to start? Just the cost to the company that produces them - a lot less than 35p (because after all, the distribution and retailing costs aren't exactly low, either). But the cost to the environment?

On the other hand, I think that producing your own food is not necessarily better/cheaper for the environment, either. If you restrict yourself to the little garden by your house, i.e. don't need fuel to actually get to where you do your growing, don't buy new equipment, use natural fertiliser (i.e. manure, urine etc) - and don't drive miles and miles to pick up a bag of muck, either, it might be comparable to production of food on a large scale. If you drive 20 miles three times a week just to get to your allotment, use petrol driven rotavators, fancy poly tunnels etc, the calculation looks somewhat different.

I think the best way forward (cost wise, financially and environmentally) are smallholding systems which think in complete cycles...

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 11:24 am
by ojay54
Dunno Mike,and you're right of course,we're handcuffed to that roundabout.

Ina,I'm sure you're right too.Re use/Recycle/Repair and your gardening MUST go hand in hand.

Someone(and I really have forgotten who) once said something along the lines that the most revolutionary thing you can do is to grow your own food,and I suppose that's the truth,especially if you share any surplus with your neighbours.

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 1:37 pm
by Odsox
It is possible to get off the roundabout Mike, at least for a while. Of course the vast majority never can, or even want to, but some of us can to varying degrees beat the system.
Most members of our forum either manage or plan to sometime, jump off from time to time.

I'm one of those who probably spend more time off the roundabout than most. I realise that I'm incredibly lucky that I managed to sell my house in the affluent, snooty, south east of England and buy an ideal property in Ireland for a quarter of the price, with just enough land that I can manage on my own.
I'm self sufficient in vegetables, almost self sufficient in fruit and partially self sufficient in meat. I save a lot of my own seeds and work the plot by hand, collect seaweed for fertiliser and generally have a great time doing it.

I do realise though that I cock up all those good intentions by running two hydroponics systems (soon to be 3), use heated propagators and grow lights in the winter, and of course run a petrol lawnmower. Also 2 freezers, a dehydrator and a canner using resources that aren't mine.

It is great though to cock a snook at the establishment and have a warm smug feeling that I have at least 6 months supply of my own produce in the larder

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:02 pm
by ojay54
Tony,like it or not,it's more than just cocking a snook at authority,it's one of the few ways you can maintain any form of control over your life.
We are surrounded by so much 'choice',which is basically no choice whatsoever.If only half the lawn in the UK was cultivated I think the effect would be shattering........and as it happens, I've just serviced my Merry tiller....

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:08 am
by Marc
A somewhat complex conundrum me thinks ...
In a slightly different but connected vein, I think that EU subsidies to farmers should be paid on how many workers they employ, instead of purely on how much land they own or control.

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:42 am
by ina
Marc wrote:A somewhat complex conundrum me thinks ...
Understatement of the year!

But I like your idea about the subsidies. It's always annoyed me when people moaned about the amount of subsidies payed to one individual farmer without taking into account how many families actually have to live on that. In many cases the moaning was justified - but not in all. It's all far too complex for anybody who does not have a lot to do with farming to understand fully.

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:12 am
by Green Aura
Oh crikey. The problem is what costs are we talking about - monetary value, environmental costs, personal health (and in most countries the money to fix it). A can of baked beans will have all these and other costs I haven't even thought about.

Nor, it would appear. has anyone else. I did a bit of a google to see what info is out there and references to sugar and salt, the lining of the tins, GMOs all appear in various places but no-one, that I could find, has put anything together to see the combined "costs".

I find myself increasingly making anything I can myself - from baked beans to toothpaste. And if I can grow the ingredients all the better.

Because the one of the highest costs for me is loss of trust in just about anything produced by big business.

Re: Canned Heat

Posted: Mon Sep 01, 2014 11:05 am
by ojay54
Like Button.