Decades of destruction to the natural environment caused by industrialized farming risks “derailing humanity’s place on Earth for good”, the Prince of Wales warned this week.
Addressing the Harmony in Food and Farming Conference in Wales (an event inspired by the Prince’s 2010 book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at the World and organized by the Sustainable Food Trust), the Prince said there was no excuse for farmers to damage the soil, treat animals inhumanely, or destroy biodiversity.
“Deplete it, reduce it, erode and destroy it and we will succeed in causing such disorder that we risk derailing humanity’s place on Earth for good,” said the Prince.
“In my lifetime I have watched the industrialization of food production turn the living organism of an individual farm into little more than a factory, where finite raw materials are fed in at one end and food of varying quality comes out the other.”
“We have to find ways of bringing about a widespread transition to farming where farms become more balanced and harmonious entities.”
“We have to find ways of bringing about a widespread transition to farming where farms become more balanced and harmonious entities”
Tony Juniper, a co-author with Prince Charles of Harmony, told delegates that factory farming techniques were “utterly unsustainable … and grossly destructive”.
He continued: “Cheap food has become the totem for policymakers across the world, but it’s not cheap at all when you start factoring in the damage being done to natural ecosystems.”
Patrick Holden, founder of the Sustainable Food Trust, and a former Soil Association director, told the conference, said that the spirit of the Harmony event was “not about answers, but about the enquiry of learning”. In an interview with Regeneration International, Holden said: “The state of mind here is incredibly positive. We are all inspired, not only by the ideas behind the Harmony thinking, but we’re also uplifted by each other’s company. There is a collective energy, about forward thinking and planning to replace the chapter in the history of agriculture that has been about killing Nature, by rebuilding the lost natural capital and moving forward into a much more inspiring future.”
Main picture: Prince Charles addressing the Sustainable Food Trust Harmony in Food and Farming Conference. Photo, Richard Weaver