The first conference session sets the scene
Graham Keating - 02 March 2012
The first Conference session of the morning has clearly identified the problems we face. Anne Pettifor (New Economics Foundation), Phil Bloomer (Oxfam) and Hans Herron (Millennium Institute) have given us some clearly-delivered warning shots, as if we need them, that global financial systems don’t help the transition to properly sustainable farming, 1 billion people face food shortages and potential temperature increases of 8 degrees in sub-Sahara Africa and global agriculture needs a different model. Phil argues that GM might be a part of that model and doesn’t understand the organic sector’s distrust of this technology.
However Hans Herron gave an impressive outline of the solutions available to us and he focussed on the vital importance of managing the soil properly. He dismissed GM as a viable solution and instead talked about the need for global investment in farming tools such as min-till and education in better systems, all to protect the World’s soil fertility. Organic systems have a huge part to play – on our own organic farm in Somerset we’ve seen the soil health improve dramatically since we converted to organic. This theme will be followed up in this afternoon’s ‘Agroecology in Practice’ workshop.
Graham is Communications Director at Yeo Valley Organic and Vice Chair of the Soil Association Council.