Mindful Monday – Retailers Need to Support Higher Welfare Farming Practices

MindfulMondayEach time You eat something, You are endorsing the journey it has travelled to your mouth so here are some delicious and mindful eating recipes for you to enjoy.

Baked Eggplant, Chickpeas & Green Chilli

This is a Bill Granger Recipe

Serves 4–6


3 eggplants, cut lengthways into 1cm-thick slices
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 green chilli, finely diced
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
400g tin diced tomatoes
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (or 1 tablespoon brown sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle the eggplant slices with salt, place in a colander and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse well and pat dry with paper towel.
Place two large frying pans over medium–high heat. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil. Add a single layer to each pan and fry for 4–6 minutes on both sides, until well browned. Set aside and repeat with the remaining slices. Place half the eggplant slices in a medium casserole dish.
Return a frying pan to the heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, paprika and cumin, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and pomegranate molasses. Mix together and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour half the tomato mixture over the eggplant slices in the casserole dish, cover with the remaining eggplant and then pour over the remaining tomato. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Serve in the dish or allow to rest and serve warm or at room temperature dressed with parsley and mint, pomegranate seeds and sea salt.

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Vegetarian and Banting Friendly


Mindful Eating Fact

“Supermarkets knowingly support their suppliers in performing all of these atrocities – and it’s done in our name as ‘consumers’.

A small concession has been made for those who “can afford” food from higher welfare farming practices but the vast majority of consumers have cruel food forced on them simply because that’s what’s on offer and because they are either ignorant of the facts, or can’t believe that the facts are really as bad as they’ve heard. The doors of the factory farm, after all, are not open to scrutiny.” Louise van der Merwe, NGO Compassion in World Farming representative; Editor of Animal Voice, (see article here)

"We had committed to only selling free range eggs and later to also using only free range eggs in prepared meals. We set ourselves challenging targets which we sometimes couldn’t meet as customers and suppliers could not afford the additional costs of the initial phase of developing a free range industry. We persevered; the costs are now affordable for customers and currently about 90% of our prepared food is made with free range eggs.
We’re also committed to selling only sow friendly pork. We’ve met our own deadline to sell sow friendly fresh pork by December 2014 ahead of the industry target of 2020. But our plan to roll out sow friendly pork to prepared meals is proving more challenging than initially thought due to the costs and time required for farms to change infrastructure.  What you have to do is keep the commitment and try and find a different way to get there." Woolworths Press Release, 29 January 2015, HOW TO BUILD A MORE SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS

I ask South African retailers : “Isn’t it time that retailers invest financially in helping farmers to achieve these higher welfare practices to which you say you are “committed”? South African consumers have been asking retailers for years to supply higher welfare food. Retailers have both the resources and the power to determine exactly how our food is produced.  So the “additional costs of the initial phase of developing a free range industry” should not lay squarely at the feet of farmers.

Farmers are often made financially insecure by retailer demands and contract requirements that bind them to unfair agreements. These retailers (Pick n Pay, Woolworths, Makro, SPAR, Checkers/Shoprite) certainly have the means to invest financially in the farms from which they obtain their produce. Isn’t it time that South African consumers and South African farmers stand together and demand change in the way these retailers do business?

(See related article, Eating Consumers Push SA Retailers to the Top Spot)


Sonia Mountford

Sonia Mountford lived as an expat in the Middle East for a number of years and enjoyed travelling and exposure to third and first world cultures. Her interest in food security began while visiting in Sri Lanka after floods and discovering the politics around Food Aid. As a co-founder of Grass Consumer Action and the only full time member, she spent four years researching the dysfunctional food system in South Africa, investigating, questioning and exposing misleading claims. Although her interests range from food politics to toxins in our food, including harmful ingredients in processed foods and Big Food influence; she soon came to realize that the most important part of the food journey begins on farms. For that reason she spends much of her time visiting farms, learning and talking about constraints and concerns in production methods with farmers. Passionate about nutritional food security she believes higher animal welfare farming practices are not only necessary for ethical reasons but also for human health. She is an ambassador for SOIL, BEES and healthy WATER. Mountford started EATegrity (eategrity.co.za) “Helping You Find Integrity in the Food Chain” in 2015. Her aim is create greater consumer awareness about the food chain and to encourage transparency in the South African food industry.

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