Sunday, 18 August 2019
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

We live in a world where lemonade is now made of artificial ingredients and yet window cleaner proudly states “contains real lemons.”

By  Mar 09, 2019

Some things are illogical are some are just plain stupid. Croatia imports more food than it exports, a statement that is both illogical and stupid, but sadly true. From the vast and wide plains of Slavonia with its endless fertile fields, to the bountiful Adriatic lapping at our doorstep, valleys and hills, lakes and rivers, all the elements in one small country. And when combined with idyllic weather and the fourth largest fresh water supply in Europe then you have agricultural utopia.

We should be pumping food into all our neighbours in the European Union on a daily basis. So how is it I’m buying strawberries from Spain and cucumbers from Portugal?

On a county basis Dubrovnik is just as blessed, if not more so, than the rest of the country. Whereas before in the days of the Republic the fields of Konavle, Župa and Šipan would be bursting at the seams with all kinds of fruit and vegetables to feed the population on a year-round basis, now they echo to the sound of silence.

Even though the world is slowly turning its back on mass produced GMO vegetables and looking for more naturally grown produce we are missing the chance to shine. And this modern term of organic food is should exactly where Croatia should find its niche in the market. For what did the farmers back in the times produce if not organic food.

Organic food, or as some people like to call it “bio”, is nothing new, far from it. It is producing food in a way that is in line and harmony with nature. For example, instead of throwing artificial fertilizers over everything you use what comes out of the rear end of most animals. Nothing new. Organic fruit and vegetables is what people were doing in the 16th century, this isn’t some ground breaking new technology. It’s just that mankind’s stupidity, thinking that we knew better than Mother Nature, has led to us now looking to turn back the clock and return to our forefathers. Organically produced is what we should we doing, it’s what we used to do anyway. The possibilities for Croatia are endless. “Europe’s back garden” – “Fish from crystal clear seas”, the marketing possibilities are endless as well. However instead of embracing and nurturing what we have we have turned our backs on our agricultural history and turned to importing shrimps from the seas of China and grapes from Israel. Unbelievable.

“Everyone wants to be strong and self-sufficient, but few are willing to put in the work necessary to achieve these worthy goals,” once wisely said the great Mahatma Gandhi.

Instead of going to a German supermarket every week to buy fruit and vegetables, or even cheese and milk, why aren’t we going to markets to buy produce from our neighbours. Produce that we know we can trust in terms of quality. Some people will say that we have busier lives today and that we don’t have time to tend the fields. Sorry, I don’t believe that. Are we lazier than we were centuries ago? Yes, now that I do believe. We spend our time looking for the latest and greatest new thing when the answer is staring us right in the face.

We live in a world where lemonade is now made of artificial ingredients, without a hint of lemon, and the window cleaner I spray proudly states “contains real lemons.”

And we have ingredients that the world is desperately searching for and paying good money for. The Mediterranean diet is considered the healthiest in the world for a reason. The ingredients of that very diet grow, swim and walk around us, every day. You don’t have to be Einstein to connect the dots and see the wider picture. Not only should Croatia be completely self-sufficient with its food production but we should also be filling the supermarkets shelves in Germany. Yes, instead of us buying our food from a German supermarket we should be filling theirs with all the goods we have at our fingertips. Let’s grow organic food, or as your grandparents called it just food!           

The Voice of Dubrovnik


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