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Organic Consumers Association

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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

'One Thing I've Learned About Modern Farming – We Shouldn't Do It Like This'

A journalist who has spent decades investigating ‘big ag’ explains why the drive for cheaper food has come at too high a price

As we walked quietly through the trees, the water ahead looked like a manmade fishing lake, or maybe a small reservoir. We were in a strip of forest, along a single-track road, making our way towards a huge industrial farm. It was overcast and the high trees made the day even more gloomy.

We had been hired to investigate conditions on farms supplying UK supermarkets for a TV programme and not-for-profit campaign, and that was how we found ourselves at this giant pig farm in Poland. The arrival of foreign meat companies in the country was proving controversial. Local people were worried about the environmental consequences – as well as impacts on smaller-scale farmers – of having a multinational meat firm pitch up on their doorstep.

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