We've got to get ourselves out of the garden
Pat Thomas - 02 March 2012
The annual Soil Association conference set a blistering pace this morning with an opening shot across the bow of its own occasionally enclosed world view.
Chief Executive Helen Browning, in her opening remarks, said the Association needed to aim high in order to face the future. Visionary economist and Director of the economic think tank PRIME (Policy Research in Macroeconomics), Ann Pettifor took the message to heart.
In a talk that probably left many in the room breathing hard to keep up, she made a plea for organic gardeners and farmers to look up from those gardens that Rousseau was so anxious for us all to build and see the bigger picture of the world they are trying to cultivate.
The world of economics and our financial institutions, she said, operate in an environment totally disconnected from the land. But farmers, gardeners, consumers and supporters of organic, also, it seems operate in a similar kind of disconnect.
The economic reality is that only when we define ourselves more widely as citizens – rather than just farmers or shopkeepers or consumers can we begin to effect change.
Like it or not we are part of global economic system where money that could be used for food and farming innovation is being practically given away to banks and financial institutions at stupidly low interest rates, but lent at crippling rates to the farmers and other innovators who could transform our food system.
So how about it guys, when are we going to start demanding sustainable economics to support sustainable farming?