Wednesday, 30 December 2009

"Good Food For Everyone Forever."

In the wake of the Copenhagen Summit earlier this month it’s obviously not a good idea to wait around whilst governments go away and try to devise new realistic and equitable agreements for the next summit....or not. As for agriculture,it looks like our best hope for the future lies with lots of enterprising people getting their heads together, harnessing their expertise, and providing alternatives to the status quo.. So, (despite the Summit), I’m starting my blog for 2010 with a positive outlook. Colin Tudge, founder of the Campaign for Real Farming, ( has helped organise a conference for January 5th, entitled "THE OXFORD REAL FARMING CONFERENCE”.
The details and conference description, entitled "Good Food For Everyone Forever" are reproduced below:

"Providing the people of the world with a dependable supply of healthy nutritious foods is perhaps the greatest challenge facing humanity. Our current farming methods are clearly failing. They are over-dependent on fossil fuels; they damage soils and deplete scarce water resources; they degrade everyday foods; they reduce biodiversity and squander precious wildlife; they pollute our global environment. They are part of a global food system that is at the mercy of speculators and is every bit as precarious as the world banking system.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. We, the organisers of the Oxford Real Farming Conference, are convinced that the Earth’s natural resources are easily able to provide a good, healthy diet for everyone living on the planet today – and everyone likely to be living on it 50 years from now and indeed forever. All it will take is an agriculture based on principles of sound biology rather than economic dogma.
Our aim in establishing this conference – which we hope will become an annual event – is to encourage and stimulate fresh thinking on this, the greatest challenge of our time. We don’t believe high-input, industrial agriculture is capable of reform. Rather than feed people, its aim is to serve the interests of global chemical, trading and investment corporations. Far from creating a secure supply of high-quality food, today’s agribusiness can be counted on to obstruct progress.
We believe the people of this country – like the people of the world – are entitled to the best foods our land can provide. Our conference will investigate the most effective ways of achieving this. Though we are passionately committed to good science, we’re not convinced that new technologies are required to feed the world well. The key to securing good food for all is rather the careful management of the world’s natural resources by well tried and trusted methods. What’s needed is the radical re-working of the very best traditional systems.
Among the glittering prizes of a rational farming system are the host of social and environmental benefits that go along with it. As well as fine food, good agriculture will provide clear streams, teeming wildlife and thriving rural communities. It’s a measure of the failure of our present farming methods that the countryside is so depleted of these things.
Our speakers include farmers, academics, writers and business people. We are united by the desire to see the people of Britain and the world provided with better food than they are currently offered. We have no agenda other than to secure a system of agriculture that feeds the world well.
If these are aims that you share please support our conference. Join with us on this adventure. What we’re seeking is nothing less than a renaissance – for farming, for our countryside and for the world."

The Oxford Fringe

Tuesday January 5 2010
The Old Library at The University Church of St Mary The Virgin,
High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BJ

The venue is easy to find in the centre of Oxford, within walking distance of the Train and Coach stations, and well served by buses from the park and rides.
Admission to the conference will be free, with donations towards running costs welcome at the door.
Organised by the Campaign for Real Farming and the Grass Fed Food Association.
For more information, please contact Ruth West on:
The Programme For The Day
Chaired by: Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO
Speakers include: Graham Harvey, farming writer; Prof Martin Wolfe, agroecologist; George Hepburn, soil fertility specialist; Patrick Holden CBE, farmer and director of the Soil Association; Matt Dale, new dairy farmer; Tim Waygood, farmer and founder of the Agrarian Renaissance; Colin Tudge, biologist and writer; Will Edwards, pasture farmer; Dr Matt Lobley, sociologist and rural policy expert; Ben Mead, dairy and carbon farmer [tbc]
13.30 - 14.00: Registration
14.00 - 14.10: Chair’s Introduction
Sir Crispin Tickell
14.10 - 15.40: Farming That’s Designed to Feed People
15.40 - 16.00: Tea and Coffee break
16.00 - 17.30: The Absolute Importance of Grass and Grazing
17.30 - 18.00: Where Do We Go From Here?
18.00 - 19.00: Drinks [Vaults & Garden Cafe]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fascinating summit, did you manage to attend?