Archive for 'You Know The World Is Upside Down When'

Head in the Sand Approach To Feeding Auckland

pants_compressedThe debate about Auckland’s housing debacle took a new turn this week. The answer now appears to be to remove the urban/rural town planning boundaries and follow the guidelines established in the Wild West. In other words  - none!

Well, I have two problems with that. Firstly, there is a famous quote around, which I can subscribe to wholeheartedly – “we don’t need to build housing, we need to build communities”.  I do not see any evidence that building communities is even a consideration.

Secondly, if we remove the urban/rural boundaries and just start building all over the place, we will wake up one day and will have built dwellings on the most fertile soils in the country. Pukekohe comes to mind. What are we going to eat, pray tell? We can’t just stick our head in the sand and pretend this is not happening. Auckland has an unfortunate history in covering up the land, which feeds its citizens, with houses – and  judging by some of the comments made by certain politicians this week, we are about to do it all over again.

The history of market gardening in Auckland is well documented.  As the city has grown, market garden areas were pushed out.  At the turn of the 20th century, Auckland’s market gardens were clustered around the area occupied today by the Ellerslie racecourse.  By the end of World War II, the vegetable growing focus had shifted to Mangere  - now the site of a sprawling South Auckland suburb and Auckland Airport.  Today, vegetable production centers around Pukekohe.  And whilst some crop production, in the case of potatoes and onions for example, has already moved further down country to Matamata, it just would not be possible to shift Pukekohe’s entire vegetable production simply elsewhere.  Horticulture New Zealand’s recent press release on the matter says it all.

What is next – the Food Police?

keep-calm-and-look-out-for-the-food-police-1
No, it is not April Fool’s Day. I wish!

It seems that when they were not busy debating the pros and cons of Scottish independence in recent months, the UK authorities have been contemplating the introduction of a Food Police. The Netherlands and Denmark have had Food Crime Units for some years now and there seems to be support for introducing this in the UK as well.

An independent report into food supply network integrity was published in the UK in July 2014 and Food Safety News obviously has a take on the matter too.

Last year’s horse meat scandal appears to have been the last straw.  The Dutch Food Crime Unit alone is reported to have 100+ investigators, so they know how to keep themselves busy by the looks of things.  What are the odds of MPI catching up with these latest European Developments and presenting us with our own  home grown New Zealand version?

The mind boggles.

You Know The World Is Upside Down When (II)

cabbage

Cabbages claim first prize in a Verbosity challenge, involving some pretty important documents on mankind’s radar.

This little comparison is currently making the rounds.

Not sure where it originated. Inevitably, one of our team members, Helga, picked up on it on account of cabbage getting a mention in dispatches. 

Pythagoras’ Theorem: …………………………24 words
Lord’s Prayer: ………………………………………… 66 words
Archimedes’ Principle: ……………………………..67 words
Ten Commandments: ……………………………………179 words
Gettysburg Address: ……………………………………………….286 words
US Declaration of Independence: ………………………….1,300 words
US Constitution with all 27 Amendments: …………………………7,818 words
EU Regulations on the Sale of CABBAGES: ………………..26,911 words

I haven’t been able to lay my hands on the EU cabbage document yet but you might want to start looking for it yourself here, at the entry portal for EU Fruit & Vegetable Standards.

You Know The World Is Upside Down When (I)

A newspaper thinks it needs to operate an online garden centre.

Guardian garden centre

Not a belated April Fool’s day Joke but the website of the virtual garden centre operated by The Guardian newspaper in the UK. If nothing else it confirms that being a champion in an existing consumer channel offers little protection from operators emerging from entirely different channels looking  for new ways to generate income  - because they can!