Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Prince of Wales on Sustainable Agriculture


Prince Charles Speech Featuring the
Morrisons Farm at Dumfries House

Yesterday, Prince Charles was in the British news for a speech he gave at Dumfries Farm in Scotland. He hit on all of the important points in discussing sustainable agriculture including peak oil and transitioning from high fossil fuel inputs while urging the world to change its farming practices. The event was in recognition of the UK's large supermarket chain, Morrisons, investment in this "new model farm," which the Prince of Wales had rescued for preservation in 2007.

The UK Guardian's article is a must-read, offering many nuggets of the speech.
Prince Charles cited a "remarkable" report published by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in 2008 called The international assessment of agricultural knowledge, science and technology for development. Its conclusions, accepted by the UK government and 57 other countries, said the world had to change its farming techniques or face "social and economic collapse", he said. It encouraged low-impact and organic farming, and farms which were much less reliant on fossil fuels. It stated: "Business as usual is no longer an option."
I would also recommend reading the UK Telegraph's coverage of the story, as it focuses more upon the Dumfries farm, itself. One of its goals will be to use the farm for instruction and educational purposes, as well as testing farming and livestock methods, with the eventual goal of making a profit by 2014.

Mr Philips said: "It will be a profitable farm. That's critical, because if we can be profitable as a farmer then we can share best practice with the other 2,050 farmers we work with across the country. "The consumer wants fresh food but is not going to want to pay more for it. The farmer needs to make money and if he doesn't then the farming industry is going to go in this country. That's serious and we cannot allow it to happen."

A third link you may want to check out is the page at the Morrisons supermarket chain's website which features Dumfries House farm. Or, their "fresh food" page which currently features a two-minute video which takes the viewer to one of the supermarket's local apple farms.

Some environmentalists are cynical about these ventures by this large supermarket, but it looks like a very positive step in some right directions to me.