Neil Perry, celebrity chef and owner of Rockpool, a Sydney restaurant, has the answer! A farmer's dream: a guaranteed premium for our farming produce if we reject science and adopt his natural food ideologies. According to Mr Perry, "We have an opportunity to make ourselves different to the rest of the world, in a very competitive environment".
Neil Perry is an advocate for the movie "Food Inc" written by Michael Pollan, which rejects conventionally produced food and champions "locavore" and organic eating. We can "make ourselves different" alright, but even Jo Stalin, the organic farmer of Polyface farms in Virginia, featured in "Food Inc" cringes at the thought of every farmer becoming organic as he knows he would loose his premium. This differentiation of marketing edge, by black marketing GM crops, while Neil Perry plugs his upmarket Sydney restaurant , promoting his natural ingredients might be working with his customers willing to pay a premium, but for the rest of use there maybe a few hitches we would like Mr Perry to answer. Ie.
- Organic cereals are typically 40% less productive than conventionally raised crops. Will a proposed premium for this "used to be" abundant crop cover this loss?
- There are some serious questions raised about biosecurity when mixing pigs, chickens and people in the methods used in the Polyface farm. How do you manage disease is such as system?
- As diseases challenges occur, climate change and phosphorus depletes in Australian soils, is it wise to reject a body of science that could help combat these issues based of the principle that natural is always better?
- Which developing nations that we export wheat to are going to pay a premium for natural? They currently pay a premium for protein levels and grading. Grading’s, which can fall if you reject modern pesticides.
- Speaking of pesticides, GM can offer the a reduction of use. Is it better to use more pesticides?
- What about climate change and population growth? We are all going to be paying a premium for food in the future, whether it is GM or not and regardless of our ideologies. Conventionally raised meat uses the best science typically has a significantly lower carbon footprint. How are your farming systems minimising their carbon footprint?
- You have stated that intensively produced meat is something you find "abhorrent" on welfare grounds. Can the free range produce you source for your restaurant prove it has superior on farm mortality rates?
- Which Australian's do you believe need to pay more for food?
- How are we really going to feed everyone and Australia keep productively contributing to the global food supply in the future?
One's food choices are just that. One's own. It's a nice plug for his "naturally" alternative restaurant, but falls short of a pragmatic answer to our impending and complex food security problems.