Context Analysis
- a brief summary of the survey

 

The survey has the following major sections:-

1. The main changes in farming and food production techniques in the last century. There are a number of main areas of technical change:-
a. Agricultural equipment
b. Fertilisers
c. Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc.
d. Advances in plant breeding
e. Crop storage techniques
f. Animal fodder
g. Food processing
h. Food additives

As a typical example of this, I have include the page on 'Tractors' in Appendix A. 100 years ago, virtually all farm work was done by a combination of working animals (usually horses) and manual work by people. Now, this work is done by machines with a small number of operators. The information on these pages is drawn from an Open University Course Book (Brown et al., 1980)


1. The Context of Food Policy
    Website Survey Technique
Survey Start Page
      Index
      Organisation List
Summary of the Survey
The Big Picture
      History of Food
Context Analysis
2. Government and Policy
3. Policy Analysis
4. In-depth analysis of sub-topics
5. The Dispositive (Triangulation)
6. Summary
7. Conclusions

2. The main types of business involved with farming and food
Farms do not seem to have web sites, except for those with herds of pedigree animals. However, I have included sites in my survey from

  • a food trader - ADM are one of the largest processors of oilseeds, corn, wheat and cocoa. "We have more than 350 plants worldwide, 23,000 employees on six continents and annual net sales of over $18 billion".
  • food processor (Unilever - Appendix A),
  • international meat industry company - (Contigroup - Appendix A) which has very widespread investments.
  • Food testing company - (TNO - Appendix A) which can carry out a range of tests to detect a very wide range of impurities and residues in food
  • Animal breeding consultants
  • Agricultural software company (Agridata - Appendix A) - deals with animal passports and productivity

From these, the level of technological development of the agriculture and food supply sectors is evident.

3. The main types of environmental organisations involved with food, farming and land use. These include the fields of conservation, species protection (e.g. otters), habitat preservation (the Woodland Trust), landscape agencies (Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales), wildlife (local wildlife trusts), rare breeds societies, 'countryside traditionalists' (selling country styles, jams, herbs, etc.) animal welfare campaigners, organic food information, 'natural living' organisations, consumer groups (campaigning about food quality, etc.), There are also shooting and hunting groups, and the Countryside Alliance.

4. The main official, government and international bodies for farming and food
These include, at the UK level:-
· The UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA - the old Ministry of Agriculture). The main "Aims and Objectives" of this Department are the main focus of this study (Appendix A - homepage, accessed 23rd September 2003)
· The UK Department of Planning and Land Use. Land use regulations are directly connected to the economics of farming and food production.

At the international and Global level there are:-
· The European Union - the Common Agricultural Policy is a major influence on UK policy
· The World Trade Organisation - the way world trade is regulated and organised affects Britain
· The anti-globalisation protestors, who object to the negative side-effects of globalisation

I have also included a brief description of the effect of the British legal system, and the way that subsidies work, as these are bigger systems within which DEFRA operates. I also add a page about prospects for the future in the international context.

5. Some historic writings, and a very brief history
In this section, I have included brief extracts from the writings of William Cobbett and from "Lark rise to Candleford", and written a very brief history. For example, the great landowners effectively ruled Britain until 1850. This is intended to give a longer historical perspective, and an idea of how attitudes have changed, even in the last 200 years.


6. Cultural influences on food and farming
The print and broadcast media are full of messages about food, whichaffect the consumers. There are:-

  • Gourmet writing, restaurant reviews, recipes, etc. These all have a certain style of their own !
  • Food advertising - how the advertisers try to sell their brands
  • Food packaging - what the label on the jar says, including contents lists
  • Vitamins and other supplements, dieting systems, allergies, etc. There are massive industries which try to 'repair the harm done by the modern diet'
  • Children's books. It is remarkable to look at the "Farmyard of Eden", which seems to be one of the first myths that all children come in contact with.
  • Spiritual teachings. All of the worlds religions have (different) taboos and advice about 'what is right to eat'

I include web pages on these topics, for, though they may not directly influence either agriculture or government, each farmer and civil servant is also an ordinary consumer

7. A summary. The summary on the website forms the basis of the following page "The Big Picture".

I am offering my services as a "Discourse and Text analysis Specialist" using my
 
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