Olivia Bowen from Gaeia recently attended the Oxford Real Farming Conference as a panellist in the Access to Finance session. Excerpt from ORFC http://www.oxfordrealfarmingconference.org/index.html Our current farming methods are clearly failing. They are over-dependent on fossil fuels; they damage soils and deplete scarce water resources; they degrade everyday foods; they reduce biodiversity and squander precious wildlife; they pollute our global environment. They are part of a global food system that is at the mercy of speculators and is every bit as precarious as the world banking system.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. We, the organisers of the Oxford Real Farming Conference, are convinced that the Earth’s natural resources are easily able to provide a good, healthy diet for everyone living on the planet today – and everyone likely to be living on it 50 years from now and indeed forever. All it will take is an agriculture based on principles of sound biology rather than economic dogma."
Co-founded by Colin Tudge 4 years ago, the ORFC is the thinker's alternative to the Oxford Farming Conference - A decades old conference which primarily deals with conventional farming. The ORFC on the other hand focuses on the wider environmental and social concerns and inspires and informs.
The ORFC, on the other hand, inspires and informs.
Many fascinating topics were encompassed: Lobbying for Agro-ecology; Food Sovereignty; seed security; community farming; planning considerations; financing new initiatives, to name just a few.This inspiring event is a must for anyone who is involved in the land, attracting key players in the field of Sustainable Agriculture.
Land should be managed for the long-term health of our communities and the land itself, not for short-term profit, and farmers' focus should not have to be on the pressures of global competition.
We discussed the limitations of the capitalist model and Colin Tudge pointed out that capitalism itself isn't necessarily such a bad thing, and can be used for the benefit of society, but the real problems stem from the free market neo-liberal model, on which the current global financial systems are largely based.
By supporting those farmers and entrepreneurs who wish to implement non-industrialised farming that is sensitive to the needs of the environment, we can:
take back control of what we eat and its quality
improve the nation's health
reduce the social costs of poor food consumption
improve biodiversity in the UK, including Agro-forestry
reconnect people once again with food culture and cooking (the ability to cook a good stew means that you can offset many of the effects of rising food costs by buying less, whilst benefitting from greater nutritional value)A healthy agricultural system affects us all, and the pioneers I rubbed shoulders with today are helping us to combat the environmental and social effects of poor political policy; damaging economic models and supermarket dominance.
Take action today:
Contact Gaeia to find out about the projects you can support via donation or investment
Have a look at the Campaign for Real Farming website
Use crowd funding websites (such as buzzbnk) to find projects local to you
Lobby your Mep to explain that you want to support community-owned agriculture & what are they doing to encourage local Farmers adopt sustainable practices? (Now is a good time with elections on the horizon)
Come to next year's ORFC!For more information, see: www.gaeia.com