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Why Prince Charles Is Brilliant For UK Organics

Oil painting by HRH Prince Charles

Oil painting by HRH Prince Charles

His Royal Highness Prince Charles has been an informed advocate of organic farming for many years. His awareness raising work has taken many forms, from founding his Duchy Originals organic food company to speaking to international dignitaries. The Prince chose to speak about the importance of ensuring a sustainable future for food and farming on Radio 4, on Thursday 27th October. Patrick Holden, the Director of the Soil Association, took the opportunity to support Prince Charles’ actions with the following words:

“We are delighted that the Prince of Wales, the Royal Patron of the Soil Association, has chosen this moment to speak out on the urgency of adopting a more sustainable approach for the future of food and farming. In doing so he is articulating the concerns and aspirations of millions of people who sense that all is not well after half a century of agricultural industrialisation.

The Prince is now rightly respected as a global leader of the movement for organic and sustainable agriculture. We are extremely fortunate to have someone in his position with such clear vision speaking out and questioning the orthodoxy of industrial agriculture and challenging us all to take personal action at this critical time.

He reminds us that we owe it not only to ourselves but also to future generations to take action now if we are to avoid irreversible damage from Climate Change. A switch towards sustainable organic farming and decentralised food distribution would make a major contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The Prince raised the issue of Food Security, a subject long overdue for debate and intimately linked to Climate Change. Intensive agriculture’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels, particularly to produce artificial fertilisers and our increased reliance on overseas imports of foodstuffs that could as readily be grown here in the UK undermine our food security and add to emissions of climate change gases.

If we are to take his call for action seriously we will need fundamental changes not only in the way we produce food but also to the way in which it is processed and distributed which is currently on a global basis and totally unsustainable. The 16% growth in local and direct sales of organic food over the last year is a positive sign of public willingness to support such changes.

The Prince draws attention to the pressures on smaller, family farms. Such farms have formed the bedrock for the expansion of organic agriculture and like the Prince, the Soil Association is extremely concerned at their demise. A switch to sustainable farming and food production will require more, not fewer farmers and farm-workers. Political action is required to reverse the current grim trend- which sees 12 farmers a day going out of business.”

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