In supermarkets, organic fruits and vegetables are usually packed in environmentally unfriendly plastic foil to distinguish them from the non-organic alternative. This is important for supermarkets because they want to ensure that there is no misunderstanding at the checkout counter as to whether someone is buying an organic or non-organic product.
Through Natural Branding we are addressing this issue and offering a sustainable solution.
What happens, is that a high definition laser removes part of the pigment from the outer layer of the peel of the fruit or vegetable leaving a permanent mark. As this mark is clearly visible it is no longer necessary to pack the products in harmful plastic foil.
Natural Branding is a contact-free method that has been approved by EU Organic certifier SKAL. The method is completely safe and no additional substances are used. Furthermore, the method is so superficial that it has no effect on taste, quality or shelf life. The energy needed for a marking is less than 1% of the energy needed for a sticker.
Through Natural Branding Eosta is saving tons of plastic. Just for one product line for one customer, we are saving over 750,000 packaging units which is enough foil to go around the world twice! Similarly, measured in CO2, it is equivalent to an average car driving 1.3 times around the world.
Promotion of organic farming (OF) is firmly embedded in the environmental policy of City of Vienna. Urban agriculture still covers about 5,900 hectares (17%) of city area. Currently, 25 % of the total acreage is cultivated organically by 31 arable, viticulture and horticulture farms. Largest one is the Municipal Farm of Vienna, producing 1,000 ha of organic cereals, potatoes and field vegetables. Since all organic farms in Vienna are run stockless, the 43,000 yearly tons of “biotonne” compost from separately collected organic household garbage are an important source of fertilization. A concept of communal nutrient recycling was developed from 1985 onwards by agroecologist Ludwig Maurer and fully implemented by Municipal Dept. of Waste Management city-wide by 1991. Accompanying applied research for compost applicability, environmental safety and quality management has been done by L. Boltzmann Institute of Biological Agriculture (since 2006 Bio Forschung Austria, BFA) which is supported by Municipal Dept. of Forestry and Agriculture. Besides compost, BFA currently researches in soil fertility, green manuring, vineyard ecologisation, preventive plant protection, climate change adaptation and biodiversity management. BFA emphasizes know-how transfer to organic farmers in Vienna and elsewhere, e.g. by “soil practitioner´s courses”. OF in Vienna also has been fostered recently by the “Ecologisation Campaign” of Vienna´s Agricultural Chamber (2015-2017).
Another important incentive for OF is the purchase of organic food for public kitchens, embedded in the sustainable procurement project “ÖkoKauf” (Ecobuy). For hospitals and geriatric centres, retiree´s residential houses, kindergarten and all-day compulsory public schools, an organic-quota of 30% monetary (kindergarten & schools even 50%) is obligatory prescribed in the Viennese Climate Protection Programme (“KliP”) since 1999. Currently, a 100,000 full boards/meals are provided daily. For a total amount of 15,000 t of organic food purchased yearly, 15 mio € are spent. Procuring organic food saves an estimated 11,700 t of CO2-eq/year in Vienna, contributes towards short food supply chains and provides high quality nutrition of both clients and Municipal employees.
The demand for private Urban Gardening (e.g. Self-Harvesting, Neighbourhood Gardens, Community Supported Agriculture) quickly has been increasing lately. For supporting interested citizens, an information centre has been implemented in BFA in 2016, offering also gardening courses and a visitor´s garden.
Food for Life works with caterers to put good food on the menu in all the places where people live out their daily lives. The programme engages communities to get people of all ages cooking and growing food again and out onto local farms so they have a positive connection with real food. It works with nurseries, schools, universities, workplaces, hospitals, care homes and visitor attractions. It works in the high street, with local authorities, National Health Service Trusts and with entire cities.
The Food for Life approach works at a population level with settings and communities, taking a whole system approach to make it easy, normal and enjoyable to eat well. This includes work care settings, hospitals and in the community to tackle malnutrition and loneliness among older people through good food provision and creating opportunities for communal dining.
The Food for Life Schools programme is the flagship programme, widely commissioned by public health teams and taken up by schools across England. Over 1,100 School Awards have been achieved and over 5,000 schools have enrolled in our national network. Pupils in Food for Life schools are cooking, growing, and visiting farms to learn about where food comes from.
Independent evaluation of the Food for Life Schools programme has shown that pupils in Food for Life schools were twice as likely to eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day than those in comparison schools. Food for Life Catering Mark Gold menus have up to 47% lower climate impact than standard school menus. Investment in Food for Life menus brings a Social Return in Investment of £3 for every £1 spent, mostly in the form of opportunities for local food businesses.
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