Education for Ethical Consumers – The Food Journey

June 25, 2012

Upcoming Events


Lecture 1: The Food Journey:
what our labels tell us about our food (and what they don’t)

This year, SFMC is planning a series of informative lectures aiming at empowering us all to become more ethical consumers. You can read more about the lecture series at the bottom of this post.

For Lecture 1, Glenn Ashton, a prominent food and environment activist, will be taking us through the relevant laws which govern food labelling. He will highlight the good aspects, as well as those aspects which are lacking. He’ll also be drawing our attention to areas where we aren’t very well protected and telling us how we can go about making the food system work for us, the consumers it is built to serve.

The format of the session will be about 40 minutes of presentation from Glenn and the rest of the time will be devoted to questions and discussion.

Please note that you need to sign up and pay (R25 pp) online to secure your place (due to limited seating). The venue for the talk is the Josephine Mill Museum in Newlands. The fee will be used to make a donation towards the upkeep of the Museum space as well as Glenn’s time in preparing for the lecture (dredging through the relevant legal updates etc) and the online booking fee we pay to process your payment.

For more info, and to RSVP, please click here.

Event Details:
Date: Tuesday 3 July 2012
Time:  6.30pm – 8.00pm
(please make sure you arrive at least ten minutes early to sign in and find a seat)
Venue:  Josephine Mill, Newlands
(map available at
Cost: R25 pp  (payable online in advance)


About Glenn Ashton
Glenn Ashton has actively been involved in the debate around food safety and security for over 15 years. He has contributed input to various food labelling laws and regulations through parliamentary processes and has a broad knowledge of the various participants, both from government and industry.

Glenn has a multidisciplinary background with interests in geography, food security, biodiversity, marine and coastal management, alien invasives (not ET!), genetically modified food and biotechnology, amongst others. He believes that we can creatively solve the many challenges we face through broad public participation. He is presently reading his Masters in Sustainable Development at Stellenbosch University.

Background to the Education for Ethical Consumers Lecture Series:

This year, SFMC would like to devote more time to empowering us all to become more ethical consumers. Being a member of Slow Food means you already know about the value of supporting good, clean and fair food, but it’s not always easy to work out which food fits this category. We all find ourselves in supermarkets at some point, trying to make head or tail of the labels and ingredients’ lists to decide which products we should and shouldn’t buy.

We all have various concerns to varying degrees around health, food safety, environmental impacts, food miles, fair treatment of workers, supporting family farmers etc. It’s a contested terrain and hard to navigate alone. So we’ve set up this Lecture Series to help ourselves learn more about the food system and what we can do to ensure we’re making choices that reflect our individual values and ethics. We hope you’ll join us on this journey and participate in shaping the lecture series to fit your own information needs.

Lecture 1: The Food Journey
Do you read the labels on the food products you buy? Are you concerned about what you put into your body and what you feed your family? Do you understand what the ingredients lists actually mean? Have you ever wondered: is this ‘free range/organic/eco’ product really free range/organic/eco – does anyone regulate this?

The laws in place in South Africa around food product labelling are meant to protect us, the consumers. The Consumer Protection Act is one of the most progressive laws in the world for consumer protection, but how does this translate into practice? And what rights do we have if we feel we’re not being adequately protected or informed?

We are planning similar events in the future (for example, our next session would probably be with a nutritionist and food technologist to explain preservatives, stabilisers and other food additives so we can better discern a healthy from potentially unhealthy product). People who attend this first lecture will receive preference for places at future lectures.

Cartoon image used with permission:

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