#Immediacy on speech making

IRAIN - Other people: The other people you cook for will experience the health....

Other people: The other people you cook for will experience the health and energy benefits of eating whole-foods, a particularly important consideration if you are preparing food for children. The environment: Eating more whole-foods usually means eating fewer meat and animal products, which in turn means that less land is needed to grow the food you eat. Less processing uses less energy, and the minimal packaging of many whole-foods reduces waste and pollution.

EATING WHOLEFOODS - WHO BENEFITS? You: ORGANIC PRODUCE - THE FACTS: Organically grown food is produced without the use of artificial fertilisers, chemical pesticides or growth hormones. Crops are grown on healthy soils built up using natural composts and manures. Livestock is kept in as natural a setting as possible, with plenty of space to move around in and an additive-free diet. Organic farming doesn't mean abandoning all chemicals traditional non-toxic pesticides are permitted - and it certainly doesn't mean doing nothing to the soil.

It is about building up a healthy and balanced ecosystem which can provide nutrient-rich food for many years to come. There are now more than 1,000 organic farms in The UK - some quite large - though of course this is still a drop in the agricultural ocean.

The problems of soil depletion, pesticide residues and nitrate pollution are showing ever more dramatically that intensive farming is unhealthy for us and for the land. And the number of people calling for change is growing rapidly.

A recent study by a leading supermarket chain showed that 76 per cent of consumers thought all food should be grown without chemicals. Even farmers are moving against the excesses of 'agribusiness' - a survey showed that 81 per cent of farmers oppose the use of milk-promoting hormone in dairy cattle. Although as yet it is difficult to get enough organic produce to fulfil demand, and 60 per cent of our organic produce is imported, at least four large supermarket chains are now selling organic fruit and vegetables, together with a limited but growing range of dried and processed organic foods.

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: The government should encourage the shift towards organic agriculture, especially by providing financial support for farmers as they make the expensive and time-consuming switch from chemical to organic husbandry. Funds need to be made available for researching and monitoring organic systems, and widely accepted organic food standards are urgently needed. Retailers should make organic produce even more widely available, without charging unfair and exorbitant premium prices. WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you haven't yet tried organic fruit and vegetables, try them and see if you can taste the difference you should be able to find a good range in your local Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose or Safeway (though it's cheaper to buy from the grower). To be sure that produce is genuinely organic, look out for the distinctive symbols of the Soil Association, or the Organic Farmers and Growers.

The Eat Well Guide is an excellent introduction, listing 1,600 retail outlets throughout the UK. If you are really interested in organic farming, you could join the local branch of The Soil Association or spend a couple of days working on an organic farm in exchange for your bed and board, through a scheme run by Working Weekends On Organic Farms. ORGANIC PRODUCE - WHO BENEFITS? You: Eating organic produce ensures that you take in as few harmful chemicals and as many healthy nutrients as possible. Most people who regularly eat organic produce say they find it tastier and more satisfying than non-organic equivalents. Organic farming also makes countryside walks much safer.

Other people: The other people for whom you buy and prepare food....

Other people: The other people for whom you buy and prepare food will benefit too, a particularly important consideration where children, with their more delic... read more

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: We need to realise the importance of food....

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE: We need to realise the importance of food preparation techniques which conserve the nutrients in food. Fresh fruit and salads should

Indoor herbs also provide fragrance - a natural alternative to chemical deodorants.....

Indoor herbs also provide fragrance - a natural alternative to chemical deodorants. If you have enough windowsill space, or a sunny dress circle or conservatory, you coul... read more