Ten years to a farming future that works for climate, nature and health
Yesterday, 15 October 2019, saw the first annual lecture in memory of environmental campaigner Peter Melchett, organised by the Soil Association at the Wellcome Collection in London. Lord Peter Melchett was Policy Director at the Soil Association for 17 years and a celebrated campaigner and organic farmer.
The lecture, Ten years to a farming future that works for climate, nature and health, covered issues that Peter cared deeply about and was delivered by Professor Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology at Sussex University and Sébastien Treyer, Executive Director of IDDRI, an independent French policy research institute.
Speakers discussed the impacts of agricultural intensification and pesticides on biodiversity and land degradation, and the need to produce food in ways that can restore nature and improve resilience in the face of climate change.
Joanna Lewis, Policy and Strategy Director at the Soil Association said: “We can feed the world a healthy diet using nature-friendly farming, and there is no alternative if we are not to erode the ecological foundations of farming and of life itself. That’s what we heard last night at the lecture held in memory of the much-loved and much-missed Peter Melchett.
“We are failing to join the dots between the climate crisis, the nature crisis and the dietary health crisis – and by not doing so we are risking the health of people and planet. The future of farming and land use is critical to all three crises – and a ten-year transition to agroecology presents a huge opportunity to tackle climate change, restore nature and soil health and normalise healthy diets – but we must act now.”
The event was attended by over 100 people, including policy-makers, MPs, NGO leaders, landowners, investment managers and philanthropists. It is hoped that learnings from the event, and IDDRI’s model for a Ten-Year Transition to Agroecology in Europe, will help to shape and redefine national food strategies and agricultural policy.
The Ten years to a farming future that works for climate, nature and health lecture was the first in a series of annual lectures that will stimulate fresh thinking on the causes Peter Melchett cared about so passionately.