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FW: food, what else?

On 24 April 1997 14:17 Sarah wrote:

>Some friends of mine have recently relocated from New York City to Moscow
>and will be living there for the next three years.  As the note below
>indicates, they're having a hard time finding good, clean, fresh food and
>are wondering what the best (ie. cleanest) sources (ie. countries of 
>of produce are likely to be in Moscow.  Before leaving NYC, they were
>Roxbury Farm CSA members, so this is undoubtedly a shock to their systems!

I sympathise with Mary's situation. Having visited Ukraine 3 times in the 
last 6 years (probably similar to the situation in Russia), I have seen 
first hand the disasterous situation of former Soviet Union agriculture. It 
is in a mess, but things are changing for the better slowly. It will take 
time, more time than many Ukrainians think or hope.

Many (most?) small town-dwellers in Ukraine have a dacha and grow their own 
food or have relatives with small private farms to provide quite decent, 
clean, reasonably uncontaminated food. If you can find a local small 
producer the food is probably reasonably safe. They usually can't afford to 
buy chemical pesticides (my relatives say that most people have not been 
paid for months, even if thay have a job). But finding such a producer might 
be nigh impossible around Moscow. Other than trying to grow their own food, 
I cannot suggest anything Mary can do.

If anyone is interested in former Soviet Union agriculture there are a few 
good recent books:

J. E. Hobbs, W. A. Kerr and J. D. Gaisford (1997) The Transformation of the 
Agri-Food System in Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent 
States. 384 pp.  ISBN 0-85199-176-9. Authors from University of Lethbridge, 
Canada. Publication is due in June 1997.

L. D. Smith [Editor] (1996) Cereals Sector Reform in the Former Soviet Union 
and Central and Eastern Europe. 272 pp. ISBN 0-85199-175-2

B. Libert (1995) The Environmental Heritage of Soviet Agriculture. 250 pp. 
ISBN 0-85198-961-6

I can provide more information if wanted.

Best wishes,


>>Help. Do you know, or do you know where I can find out, what European food
>>is least toxic? We obviously have to buy food. There is no way to buy 
>>food in season. No way. First, there's no way to know where the Russian
>>food comes from. And second, there's no way to know what chemicals have
>>been used, to say nothing of the fact that they still use leaded gas, so
>>the ground near any highway is awful.
>>I am now buying the ugliest produce under the theory that it at least
>>wasn't chemicalized for appearance sake. And I'm buying peelable stuff
>>(apples, etc.) and peeling it.
>>But we cannot eat potatoes carrots apples and pears only for three years.
>>The produce in the markets comes from all over Europe, mostly Spain,
>>Holland. Bananas from Ecuador.
>>Any thoughts would be most appreciated.