The majority of pubs are owned by big corporations that screw every ounce of profit out of their ‘tied’ houses, so called because the publican is tied to the company. So go for a free house, which is independent of a corporate body, owned by one of the smaller breweries or by Wetherspoons, who were the first to go smoke free and have been keen purveyors of Cuban Rum. Two big ethical points.
With the smoking ban, many pubs have put hugely wasteful CO2 burning patio heaters in the garden; any aspiring ethical publican would ban these too. There are a number of organic pubs, such as the Duke of Cambridge in Islington, that have been certified by the Soil Association, and a number of breweries that offer organic beers. My favourite is Whitstable ale from Shepherd Neame, although the organic hops come from New Zealand. It is suitable for vegetarians because bizarrely a lot of beer uses fish scales during production. Local pub grub with reduced carbon miles would also be an improvement.
The Boycott Bacardi campaign means that you need to find an establishment that produces mojitos with Cuban rum, organic mint and fair trade limes.
The Workers Beer Company has a pub called the Bread and Roses in Clapham, where pub staff are covered by a model union agreement negotiated with the T&G and perhaps the best wage rate in the country.
Home brewing may sound dodgy but one of the best pints I ever had was stout grown by my friend in a flat along Brick Lane.
The Campaign for Real Ale educates people about the virtues of real rather than tasteless cask beer. We must campaign to stop community pubs closing and stand up for small breweries under threat from the multinationals.
A new book from OrganicLea, the food growing cooperative in East London, ponders the personal and political of growing food
There’s nothing inherently wrong with genetic modification, argues Leigh Phillips, and the left shouldn’t side with those who suggest there is. Below, Emma Hughes responds
Ruth Potts and Molly Conisbee guide us through the many struggles organised around bread, arguing that the humble loaf is the foodstuff of revolution
Adam Payne of the newly-formed Landworkers’ Alliance in the UK reports from La Via Campesina's global conference
It’s not just meat that’s hiding secrets behind the label, writes Gary Craig
James O’Nions investigates the potential for a movement for food sovereignty in Britain