#Immediacy on speech making

IRAIN - Other people: Your neighbours will appreciate any produce you have to spare,....

Other people: Your neighbours will appreciate any produce you have to spare, and fellow gardeners the exchange of seeds, plants and advice. Once they have been pried away from the Internet, many children love gardening, and the pride of eating their own crops instils a respect for natural processes. The environment: Producing food from your own land reduces agricultural pressure on land both in this country and abroad, giving nature more breathing space.

WHERE FOOD COMES FROM - THE FACTS: Though the packets on the shelves of the supermarket may proclaim their 'naturalness', few of us stop to think what our food might have looked like in the fields. Unlike our predecessors, we are insulated from concerns about the land and what it can provide, often to the point where we have no idea where or how our food is being grown. Until recently, people almost exclusively ate food that had been grown and processed near where they lived. Imported foods were a luxury: tangerines were a Christmas treat, and hot chocolate a drink worth celebrating in company.

Yet today, when The UK is overproducing many agricultural products ranging from milk to grains, a third of our food is imported. Even with less intensive farming we could easily produce within The UK almost everything required for a varied and sufficient diet for all of us. As a result of food industry pressure, The UK has recently fallen in queue with a European Community (EC) policy of discouraging 'country-of-origin' labelling on both fresh and processed foods.

However, many manufacturers and retailers continue to show place of origin. This is vital if we are to use our judgement in deciding where to buy our food from, thereby encouraging a food trade which supports ecological well-being and global justice.

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: We could take more time to think where our food comes from, rather than taking it for granted and expecting exactly the same range to be on offer all the time. Education is the key to such a shift of understanding, especially in our children. Even more than adults they are lulled into the belief that food simply appears, quite magically and with no previous history. Foods must be labelled with their place of origin, since only then can we use our purchasing power to choose where we buy from.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Take an interest in where your food comes from. Look at the country-of-origin labels, and think about how that food has reached you and the effort involved in the process. Decide whether there are countries or firms that you won't buy from, or whether there are any that you want to support actively. Support local growers and food producers If produce doesn't say where it was grown, ask the shopkeeper.

Find out about what grows where and who grows it - look at the labels and ask retailers. As far as home-grown food is concerned, a good website which sets food production in its green context is Garden Organic. KNOWING WHERE FOOD COMES FROM-WHO BENEFITS? You: When you know where more of your food comes from you can start to make informed choices, and thus be more in control of who and what you support with the money you spend on food. Other people More informed and discerning consumers will mean an increased demand for good and wholesome food, thus giving its producers more say in the market.

They will find it easier to make a reasonable living for themselves....

They will find it easier to make a reasonable living for themselves and keep their land in good heart. The environment: When people who buy food take account of where and

If you live within easy distance of a farm or market garden,....

If you live within easy distance of a farm or market garden, place a regular order with them for fruit and vegetables. ... read more

The environment: Agriculture suited to local conditions and growing a variety of....

The environment: Agriculture suited to local conditions and growing a variety of crops helps to keep land in good heart. Considerable energy and pollution are saved in not transporting... read more