April 20, 2011

Forget the wedding, Prince Charles delivers remarkable talk on food and farming I've known for a long time that Britain's Prince Charles had an organic farm. What I did not appreciate was the depth and breadth of his understanding of food and agricultural issues which were on full display at Wednesday's Future of Food Conference in DC. In the speech, which I recommend reading in its entirety, he said that "over the past thirty years I have been venturing into extremely dangerous territory by speaking about the future of food. I have all the scars to prove it. Questioning the conventional world view is a risky business." He then laid out his central concerns about the sustainability of food production for an ever growing world and the dependence of the current industrial model on shrinking resources. We find ourselves in ... a system heavily dependent upon fossil fuels and other forms of diminishing natural capital – mineral fertilizers and so on. Most forms of industrialized agriculture now have an umbilical dependency on oil, natural gas and other non-renewable resources. One study I have read estimates that a person today on a typical Western diet is, in effect, consuming nearly a U.S. gallon of diesel every day! And when you consider that in the past decade the cost of artificial nitrogen fertilizers has gone up fourfold and the cost of potash three times, you start to see how uncomfortable the future could become if we do not wean ourselves off our dependency. And that’s not even counting the impact of higher fuel prices...

Sam Fromartz

Writer, Journalist focusing on food, environment and bread

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