Posted on Fri, March 23, 2012 by Slow Food USA
0 Comments | Categories: Books, News, Current Events,
Written by Lizzy Ott, Slow Food USA intern
Earlier this month, Slow Food USA president Josh Viertel participated in a panel discussion on His Royal Highness (HRH) The Prince of Wales’ landmark book, On the Future of Food (see clip below). The book is based on a keynote speech Prince Charles gave at Georgetown University’s 2011 conference, “The Future of Food.” Released in February, the book addresses key issues in moving towards a more effective global food system. Simply put, HRH’s vision is that our food supply needs to resolve world problems rather than create them.
Prince Charles has been advocating a more sustainable approach to agriculture for over 30 years. However, he is committed not only to revolutionizing the way food is produced, but also to making us more aware of our individual relationships to it. And in his speech, he called on the general public to implement their own sustainable models of food production.
The event was hosted by the GRACE Communications Foundation and The Aspen Institute, and was moderated by former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman. We were honored to be among such a distinguished group of panelists, which included Dr. Robert Lawrence, founding director of Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Stephen McDonnell, CEO of Applegate Farms.
Glickman opened the conversation with a quote from Prince Charles’ speech, “We must not shy away from the big questions, chiefly how can we create a more sustainable approach to agriculture, while recognizing those wider and important social and economic parameters. An approach that is capable of feeding the world with a global population rapidly heading for nine billion.” This quote set up the main topic of conversation: the feasibility of feeding a rapidly expanding population, while keeping sustainability top-of-mind.
With a world population at around seven billion, one in three children are already being diagnosed with diabetes, and billions of people are malnourished and obese. What we’re doing isn’t working. And thus, we must find a better way to grow and distribute our food.
The panelists agreed, outlining a handful of steps that will transform Prince Charles’ vision into a reality. Among these were the following highlights:
• We need regulations and programs that better educate consumers on the story behind their food.
• We need to urge the government to stop subsidizing agriculture that is harmful to both the environment and our health.
• We need to advocate policy that helps farmers get started, as well as policies that link nutrition programs to local sustainable agriculture.
• We need to take collective responsibility for the well-being of the world so that everyone, everyday has access to real food.
But enough from us. What does your vision for the future of food look like?