New Internationalist

A change of diet

November 1979

by Peter Marshall

Wholefoods are selling well in Britain Fear of the diseases caused by an over-processed and fatty diet has forced many to look more closely at their traditional Sunday lunch. Bran is the panacea for some - refined ladies find solace at their expensive health food shop - but the more concerned are turning to their local whole-food collective.

A number of these have recently formed a Federation of Southern Wholefood Collectives to match their northern counterparts. Their aim is not merely to provide cheap wholesome food for a small planet but to make the public aware of unjust production and distribution.

‘What we are trying to do,’ says Dave Bull of Uhuru health food shop, ‘is to change social and political attitudes in order to bring about a food system based on needs, not profit. About a quarter of the world’s population suffers from malnutrition yet there is enough food for everyone. Hunger is not the result of over­population or of climate, but exists principally because the food chain is controlled by the rich.’ In fact, rich countries with only 26 per cent of the world’s population eat 56 per cent of the world’s food.

They also try and publicize the conditions of the producers. They boycott goods at present from South Africa and Chile and prefer not to buy from Argentina. But they frankly admit they have to compromise. The pickers of Sri Lanka are cruelly exploited but would it help them to refuse to take their tea? And of course it is difficult to know the local situation: the Federation planned to sell Campaign Coffee direct from co­operatives in Tanzania but Nestle have recently stepped in to offer their management expertise and it is no longer clear who are the real suppliers.

The Wholefood Collectives recognize their contradictions: they are in the business of retailing, their customers are mainly middle class and they must work with the food industry. Yet they try to exemplify in their own organisation their political aim of enabling people to control their own resources. All members participate in the decision-making and receive the same wages. They are busy forming links with the growing co-operative movement.

The Federation of Southern Wholefood Collectives is an important social experiment. It offers food which is both nutritionally and ecologically sound and produced with the minimum of suffering. Above all, it publicizes graphically the problems of world development and in its very structure tries to end such problems.

For more information on the F.S.W.C., contact Tantadlin, 53 High Street, Aylesbury, Bucks., or Uhuru, 25 Cowley Road, Oxford. The latter produces the magazine Indigestion.

This feature was published in the November 1979 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on A change of diet

Leave your comment







 

  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews

Multimedia

Videos from visionOntv's globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Features

All Features

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 081

New Internationalist Magazine issue 081
Issue 081

More articles from this issue

  • The Risk Shifters

    November 1, 1979

    The world’s food supplies are coming increasingly under the control of multinational cor­porations who take much of the profit and few of the risks. SUSAN GEORGE explains the implications.

  • Ticklesack and Southern Africa

    November 1, 1979

    An active committee of 150 members keep Canadians informed of the shifting political events in Southern Africa

  • Facts of life in US labour market

    November 1, 1979

    Hundreds and thousands of Americans make up what is called ‘the secondary labour market’, a group of unskilled, largely minority, workers who are the preserve of casual labour in the US.

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.

Subscribe