141 Nature Critics argue that it could never feed the world Once again there is plenty of agriecological knowledge knowledge of permaculture and knowledge of organic farming to provide food security worldwide by means of minimally invasive methods that also have social bene fit because they create jobs and prevent rural areas from depopulating further Wendell Erdman Berry wrote that eating is ines capably an agricultural act Do consumers really have so much influence on agriculture I chaired the board of the Consumer Commission of the Free State of Bavaria for two legislative periods and now I m very sceptical Food retailers have the most leverage Normal consumers in cities are completely dependent on whatever selection food retailers have on offer But no one seems to be satisfied Consumers are dismayed that potatoes now come from far away Farmers feel misunderstood and attacked At the moment everyone is losing the climate farmers and consumers And all these claims about products being regional etc make for nice advertising but they skew our perception of the structural changes happening in ag riculture and in the food industry Everything is becoming bigger faster more automated and industrialised When farmers receive only 10 percent of the retail price for a li tre of milk that isn t fair That s market failure Joined by public policy failures Society lacks an order of preferenc es that s geared towards the future helps farmers en hances food security and benefits consumers And who should fix that The future will be determined by small market sectors like organic retailers They are changing the market Thankful ly the market is growing bit by bit as more and more peo ple demand organic products and products that carry the seal of organic associations But there s a lot of political work to be done The EU organic regulations are one ex ample of how policies can shape markets And in France regulatory efforts are being made to influence price mech anisms So there is hope Lebensbaum No GMOs Our raw materials are 100 GMO free as required for organic products But in other areas GMOs are much harder to avoid even when you are strictly committed to working without them as we are In our search for al ternative packaging materials we have some times run up against self imposed limits For instance we could have started using biodegradable film made of polylactic acid PLA for our packaging long ago But this material is derived from starch which mainly comes from genetically modified maize so it s out of the question for us Since late 2011 we have used cellulose based material for the film wrapping on our boxes of tea It s compostable made of GMO free raw materials and it meets all of our criteria for protecting the flavour of products packaged in cardboard boxes In some cases it s actu ally better at keeping in flavour than the con ventional petroleum based plastic wrapper we used before We have not yet converted all types of pack aging that we use and are taking it one step at a time Because all due environmental consid erations aside our packaging has a function to fulfil It must reliably protect our products Our resolve to work without GMOs extends all the way to our desks Compostable GMO free ballpoint pens are just the beginning And finding them was easier said than done The drinking cups for our water dispenser are carefully sourced as well We see a need to educate and raise aware ness around such a complex issue as genetic engineering That s why we support Informa tionsdienst Gentechnik Genetic Engineering Information Service We also support Aktion Bantam Mais the Bantam maize campaign Anyone with a garden farm or balcony is invit ed to plant propagate swap and disseminate seeds of Bantam maize an open pollinated heirloom variety The logic behind this cam paign is as simple as it is ingenious No GM maize may be planted within a 300 metre ra dius of anywhere that Bantam maize is grown Wendell Erdman Berry is an American novelist essayist poet cultural critic environmental activist and farmer

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