Looking through this issue it is hard not to notice how political it is. You might be forgiven for saying that food is a political hot potato – or you might not. But the fact that the production, processing, import, export, marketing and transportation of food affects millions of lives, means it’s no surprise that people have strong opinions on how we deal with the issues that inevitably arise around it. Lorraine Brehme, one of the founders of Clipper Tea talks to Katherine Locke about the early days of Fairtrade and how difficult it was to bring Fairtrade tea to a wider market. Tim Crabtree, until recently Executive Director of Local Food Links has been involved in aspects of the industry as diverse as dealing with malnutrition in the Philippines, to making leek and potato soup for Bridport school children. Michael Feasey, always passionate about food and sustainability, finds a local fisherman who has a unique answer to how to deal with the insane ‘discards’ regulations, as highlighted in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recent ‘Fish Fight’ campaign. Also in this issue, Simon Ford wrestles with his conscience about eating eel, knowing that some people believe that we may face a catastrophic species collapse, while Victoria Byrne meets a couple whose efforts to live a low impact life may have lessons for us all. In a recent Financial Times, Clive Stafford Smith, founder of the charity Reprieve, said that everything is political. He talks to Franny Wood about his memories of food, his anorexic youth and his view that vegetarianism is probably a luxury of the privileged. At whatever level the food industry impacts on our lives, it is hard not to have an opinion, especially when viewing food production on a global scale. A recent report from IGD, the international market intelligence organisation working in the food and farming sector, suggested that if every Chinese man drinks just one extra beer a week, this would require 231,235 hectares of annual barley production, the equivalent to a fifth of UK barley production. Heaven forbid they have two extra beers a week.