An all new-look Natural Products YouTube channel relaunches this week with a series of ‘Organic Pioneer’ videos filmed earlier this month at the Go! Organic Festival.
In this first series of ‘shorts’, NPG‘s sister title Natural Products News talks to five well known figures on the UK organic scene – Craig Sams, Helen Browning, Christopher Dawson, Alex Smith and Susie Hewson.
In the first film, Christopher Dawson – founder and chairman of organic Japanese food specialist Clearspring – reflects on what originally stirred his interest in organic and plant-based foods.
“The beginning for me was the 1972, the time of the brutal Vietnam war the slaughter of civilians there, and the denaturing of the countryside. In New Zealand, I was witnessing a similar denaturing of the countryside – with three million people and 60 million sheep – and I started to ask myself if this was the right way to go forward, for humanity and for Mother Nature. It made me think, if we are the top of the biological pyramid, and with the best digestive system, should we be devoting so much attention to the cultivation of animals for consumption.”
This was the prompt he needed to start looking closely at plant-based diets and organic agriculture, and to see how peaceful coexistence with Nature contrasted so sharply with the destruction and and defoliate being wage in the name of war.
In the interview, Dawson charts the early years of his Clearspring (started in 1993) and the battles to gain listings in conventional retail. He tells how he held his nerve against the supermarket buyers who wanted Clearspring’s products, but under their brand. He said no. Two years later the retailer “surrendered” – and now it stocks the Clearspring range in most of its stores. He recalls being honoured by the Japanese Government for commitment to Japanese food worldwide, and talks with pleasure about the how his children have joined the joined the business, and his hope that this next generation “take the company forward with the same passion for the another 25 years”.
The four other interviews will be posted throughout the week.