The Better Food Company: Ethical Store Hosts Vegan vs Farmer Grudge Match


TreeHugger readers are no strangers to stories about organic stores and supermarkets. We've heard about Eden Teva, the largest natural food store in the Middle East. We've read about the local vs. organic debate at Whole Foods. We've even read about Wal Mart's efforts to go organic, and their apparent abandonment of this approach a year later. With so many organic and natural food stores out there, we'll probably never get round to reporting on all of them.

The Better Food Company, in Bristol, UK [this TreeHugger's former hometown], caught our attention however, and not just for their impressive stock of organic, local and natural foods, and for their aggressive policy on food miles (they avoid air freighted food wherever possible). The company is also extremely active in education and outreach on food issues, and their events go well beyond the usual PR fluff. A recent talk about fish farming, for example, sounds more like an intellectual eco-grudge match than the usual foodie lecture. On the bill were presentations from Tony Free, owner of the Purely Organic Trout Company, and Tony Wardle, Director of vegan organization Viva:

"To farm fish organically or to not farm fish organically...that is the question. One side believes it's much better than the alternative of non-organic farmed fish, while the other believes that farming fish is completely unnatural and cruel, and depriving them of their natural instincts. You decide. Expect passion. Expect heated debate. Expect great coffee."

Owned and managed by Phil Haughton (brother of eco-chef Barny Haughton who we interviewed here), it certainly seems like the Better Food Company is living up to it's name, not only in bringing better food to our tables, but also in bringing a better understanding of food to our consciousness.