Why are so many people turning to organic food? The reasons are many and varied, ranging from better taste and nutritional content to concern over chemical residues or genetic modification and from an awareness of the benefits organic farming has on the environment. One thing we have noticed at La Chispa in the past year or so is that organic food is becoming increasingly easy to find in southern . Phil Speirs pulls up some local produce in search of the eco-label.
One of the ironies of living in Andalucía up until recently was that although the region produces 60% of ’s organic output there has been a woeful shortage of outlets to actually buy it. The Junta de Andalucía recently found in a survey that 14% of people buy organic food regularly, although with a growing number of outlets this looks set to change. Pernille Dyneson of Bionatura, one of the first ever organic supermarkets to open in the region, commented “We have been running our shops here for twelve years now and at the beginning it was even hard to source product as so much was just shipped in bulk to northern Europe.” Now, though the bandwagon seems to be picking up momentum, with the big hypermarkets stocking more organic lines of processed goods and local ‘herboristerias’ adding fresh produce to their stock. Toni, from Artemisa in Marbella recently included a fresh fruit, vegetable and meat section to her shop, pointing out that, “There’s a growing demand from our local Spanish customers as well as foreigners used to buying organic”. Farmer’s markets can play an important role in developing new outlets for producers and there is one on the third Saturday of each month in the Plaza de Villa in Coín. As availability improves so it becomes easier for people to buy organic on a regular basis, not just when they happen to be in certain places at certain times. One sure way of guaranteeing regular fresh organic produce is through a box scheme which delivers to the customer’s door each week, and these are taking off along the coast as well. Mike Slaughter, who started two years ago with deliveries and now has a shop, Alma Verde, in Sotogrande commented: “organic food is hitting the local media much more now so awareness is growing and for many Spanish people they remember how food should taste.” Alma Verde aims to be a food information centre as well, and at the time of going to press was busy building a deli and nutrition centre with therapists and advice for customers.
Spain is the second biggest organic producer in Europe after Italy , and is increasing production at an impressive rate. Last year also saw the intensive plasti-tunnel farming in and around Roquetas de Mar exposed as grossly unsustainable and environmentally disastrous. Clearly these methods have made many agriculturists very wealthy in the short term, so is there a hope that as organic farming becomes more economically viable and financially appealing that these same people will be attracted to a more sustainable and long term approach to agriculture.
Where to get it…
Organico – Box delivery scheme 666 117 797
Bionatura –Supermercados ecológicos en Marbella y Fuengirola; TEL: 952 660 757, www.bionatura.es
Alma Verde – Pueblo Nuevo de Guadiaro, Sotogrande, Tel: 956 795 512, www.organicfoodferry.com
Artemisa – Supermercado ecológico, Marbella; TEL: 952 777 353
Almáciga –Supermercado ecológico + delivery scheme, Cádiz; TEL: 956 667 653
Eco-Tienda – Tienda ecológica, Málaga; TEL:
Pura Vida –Supermercado ecológico, Gaucín; TEL: 952 151 369, www.ecotiendapuravida.net
Eco Alimenta – noticias ecológicas
SEAE – Soc. esp. de Agric. Eco
Halthy Living – Biocultura
This post is also available in: Spanish