Last week held the 2007 Soil Association conference it was focused on the urgent need to develop new models of localised food and farming systems. This is in anticipation of the central role that farmers and growers will play in averting climate change and delivering food security in an era of scarce and expensive energy.
you can listen to the podcasts of the various talks on the website, check blogroll.
This was the theme
There may be differing views on exactly when the tide will turn on our oil and carbon reserves, but many analysts predict that it is likely to happen before 2010. From the perspective of climate change, this is not a moment too soon. Although reserves will ensure reasonable availability for many decades subsequently, oil prices are likely to rise sharply, completely changing the dynamics of cost effectiveness in transport, food production, housing and alternative energy sources.
A new and irresistible driver will then, over the next few years, force change in the way we live, farm and buy our food. Whilst many of us have anticipated these changes, it has been the debate over environmental care, closer connection between citizens and the land, and animal welfare that has raised awareness of the need to change both our methods of production and the means by which we process and distribute our food. In the future, however, what has been ‘nice to have’ will become imperative.
The Soil Association’s role, working with many others, is to anticipate and prepare for these changes, for the benefit of our farmers and growers, food networks and society. This conference is an opportunity to take both a big picture look at what the surprisingly near future will bring and to discuss strategies that will allow us to move confidently forward into a world post peak oil.
What pleased me was to see such a high profile organisation tackling such issues. For them to actually mention peak oil and have guest permaculture speakers talking about the need for localised farming, will bring the issues into the mainstream.