Who is EATegrity?

FarmToFork-About-Page

 

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.

 

FARM TO FORK or SOIL TO GUT BIOME

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 nutrition she believes higher animal welfare farming practices are not only necessary for ethical reasons but also for human health.

After spending so much time uncovering the many concerns in our dysfunctional food system, she feels it is time to direct her attention to where the positive energy lies. For her that is amongst the people she has had the privilege of meeting and working with over the years. These are the people and groups that are diligently working to bring real food and food sovereignty to South Africans who are the real food heroes.

Helping You Find Integrity in the Food Chain

EATegrity wishes to showcase the true food heroes in South Africa that believe in truth and transparency, which empowers citizens and suppliers of food to make informed choices.

 

WHY TRANSPARENCY IS VITAL

Nutrient dense soil, bees and healthy water are resources that are vital to our food supply but are under threat in South Africa due to conventional and harmful farming practices.

We need a commitment to transparency. If there is a lack of transparency then everyone is at risk, particularly farmers and the real food movement. We are increasingly losing our organic farmers and smallholder farmers. Organic milk supply cannot meet demand.

Let’s focus more on building trusted relationships through transparency because it is easier to maintain trust and confidence in your product than to restore it.

South African consumers must realize that we need to protect our farmers who grow food sustainably because they believe in safeguarding and improving soil health. Without nutrient dense soil we don’t have nutritious food.

Healthy Soil = Healthy Food = Healthy Humans

Sonia believes that it is not only the impoverished in South Africa that are nutrient deficient but also wealthier households who are food secure but nutrient poor. Every South African citizen should have the right to nutritional food security and even the United Nations has stated that subsistence and family owned farms is the solution to the world’s food dilemma.


POLITICAL WILL

Brazil managed to reduce the number of people living in poverty by 20 million between 2003-9 through investing in small-scale farmers. (OXFAM) Our government needs to show political will to do the same by supporting traditional farmers, emerging farmers and organic farmers. It is critical that government realise the urgent need to move towards sustainable farming practices that enriches instead of depletes our soil of nutrients.


CONSUMER EDUCATION

Mountford advocates for short food supply chains (Know Your Farmer & Buy Local) as a clearer path to traceable transparency for conscious consumers. Through media, talks and social media she is enthusiastic about informing and guiding consumers as she is confident that this will grow a conscious informed consumer voice to match that of Europe in the near future. In particular, educating consumers to have a clear understanding on the importance of supporting and protecting our smallholder and organic farmers.

(please see here for more on this subject and about TRACEABLE TRANSPARENCY).


SoniaMountfordWorkWithMeWORK WITH ME
As a co-founder of Grass Consumer Action and the only full time member thereof, I spent four years researching the dysfunctional food system in South Africa, investigating, questioning and exposing misleading claims.

I soon came to realise that the most important part of the food journey begins on farms. For that reason I spend much of my time visiting farms, learning and talking about constraints and solutions in production methods with farmers. I believe higher animal welfare farming practices are not only necessary for ethical reasons but also for human health. I am completely passionate about healthy soil as believe that it is the source of all human health. We can’t have human health without healthy, nutrient dense soil.

I am very privileged to work with and be assisted by people both locally and internationally that diligently and passionately work to safeguard access to nutritional food, the basis of human health.

After spending so much time uncovering the many concerns in our dysfunctional food system, I felt it was time to direct my attention to where the positive energy lies and for me it is the short food supply chain which presents the possibility for consumers to make informed choices.

I launched EATegrity, helping you find integrity in the food system, at the end of 2015 to focus on the short food supply chain as a clearer path to Traceable Transparency (please see: http://www.eategrity.co.za/index.php/2015/10/11/how-transparency-can-safeguard-your-business-the-local-food-movement/) for conscious consumers. Through media, talks, writing and social media I show my enthusiasm for informing and guiding consumers as I am confident that this will grow a conscious informed consumer voice to match that of Europe in the near future. In particular, educating consumers to have a clear understanding on the importance of supporting and protecting our smallholder and organic farmers.

Transparency by food suppliers through providing information on sourcing of products and in particular livestock products, will become increasingly important to conscious consumers who want to know which farms were the source and methods of production.

I assist food producers, markets and food traders with their communication to confidently inform their customers about the story of their produce.

SOME QUESTIONS FOOD SUPPLIERS CAN ASK THEMSELVES

What information are you willing to share with consumers?
What are your fears about consumer education and why?
Are your organic products correctly labeled, do they bear the assessment or certification logo if you are organically certified?
Are you making unsubstantiated claims and why?
Are you tired of seeing misleading claims in the market in which you trade?
Do you know that claims “grown to organic standards” and “uncertified organic” undermines the organic movement?
Have you visited all the farms that you source raw produce from?
Do you provide truthful information about the way the food you sell is grown and raised?
What ingredients have needed to be added to improve flavour or maintain freshness?
What ingredients are most concerning to you about your product?
Can you make vegan / pasture / free range / organic / banting / natural claims with confidence?

Like anything we don’t understand, transparency alleviates uncertainty and helps consumers make better decisions. What you don’t want as a food trader are confused consumers.

It is the responsibility of food suppliers to ensure authenticity of their products and transparency to allow consumers to make informed choices with their eyes wide open. It is also the responsibility of food suppliers to know everything about the farms or processes involved in the product they are selling so that they can confidently provide answers to any queries and that is where I can assist.

I have also recently been trained by IFOAM to be a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) facilitator and I am thoroughly enjoying the challenges and rewards with working with emerging farmers.

I make every effort to understand the full story of soil to plate to purposefully advocate for nutritional food security in South Africa.

Let’s focus more on building trusted relationships through transparency because it is easier to maintain trust and confidence in your product than to restore it.

In the climate of ever increasing sustainable and ethical claims being made by producers and suppliers of food, do you recognize the need to be authentic in your food claims as to encourage traceable transparency within the short food chain to ensure customer trust and loyalty? Contact me to see how I can assist in your food story: soniam@eategrity.co.za

Sonia Mountford