Please click here to see video clips of the Prince of Wales, Patrick Holden and myself during the conference, which was organized by The Sustainable Food Trust. It aimed to develop an agricultural perspective on the ideas propounded in the book ‘Harmony’ by HRH The Prince of Wales and Tony Juniper.
In 1967 Joni Mitchell wrote a song called Woodstock that included these lines:
“We are stardust, We are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves
back to the garden”
We are indeed ‘billion year old carbon’ – the average person of about 80kgs/176lbs contains about 15kgs/33lbs of carbon. That ancient carbon is in our bones, our muscle, our fat and our bloodstream, as carbohydrate, fat, protein and other compounds. The carbon in our bodies may have been previously in soil, in trees, in charcoal, in dinosaur turds, in mosquitoes, in honey… It was everywhere before it ‘reincarbonated’ in us. Carbon is immortal. And it is stardust. Continue reading
When a business sector sees a rash of mergers and acquisitions, it’s for one of two reasons, growth or decay. The organic food industry has seen a lot of acquisitions by companies anxious to get in on the ground floor of the 5% annual growth rate in organic food and regenerative farming. Meanwhile, on the dark side, Monsanto is facing takeover by Bayer, not for any positive reasons, but because they are both looking into the abyss. Merger is one way to survive when the farmers they are competing for are spending less. Farmers aren’t stupid – they can do the maths. When they see diminishing returns on their investment in seeds and agrichemicals, they reduce their spending. Continue reading
Back in 1967 my brother and I ran an organic macrobiotic restaurant and food store – we followed macrobiotics, the way of eating described in the book Zen Macrobiotics by Georges Ohsawa. The restaurant bought as much as possible from organic producers around London so we built strong links with the Soil Association, which was founded by Lady Eve Balfour in 1946. In order to talk about biochar I will first talk about soil, because that is the context into which biochar fits. Satish Kumar also spoke about soil last year in his excellent magazine Resurgence. Continue reading
GOOD AFTERNOON. AND MANY THANKS FOR INVITING ME TO SPEAK HERE THIS AFTERNOON.
AS THE FOUNDER OF WHOLE EARTH I’D LIKE TO DISCUSS HOW WE TOOK OUR VALUES, WHICH FOR MANY YEARS HAD BEEN A COMPETITIVE DISADVANTAGE, AND TRANSFORMED THEM INTO A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.
FORGIVE ME FOR DRAGGING YOU BACK INTO THE DIM AND DISTANT PAST, BUT TO OFFER ANY COMMENTS ON THE FUTURE FOR WESSANEN ORGANICS IT HELPS TO KNOW A BIT ABOUT ITS HERITAGE AND THE STORY OF THE WHOLE EARTH BRAND HAS BEEN WOVEN INTO IT FOR AT LEAST 34 YEARS. Continue reading
Great grandparents were Nebraska sodbusters. They grew apples and mulberries and watermelon
Apples – Apple pie, baked apples, apple crumble, apple butter, apple jelly from the peels, dried apples, sold apples to stores in Sioux City. Canned applesauce and apple butter and stored in the cave that was the original house. Continue reading
What is it about the meat industry? Vegans say meat is murder, what’s clear is that its production often defies morality.
Here’s the story of how I moved from dark chocolate to even darker materials – biochar
Much as I hate what Gaddafi is up to and much as I dread any threat to the stability of the Saudi regime, I can’t help hoping that the oil price goes up and stays up.
There are a lot of reasons for this. Continue reading
Every year the governments of the world back winners in Big War, Big Ag, Big Energy and Big Pharma. The total bill to taxpayers? A stonking $3500 billion! Yes, $3.5 trillion. How much of this do you get? Nothing. You just get to pay for it. Unless you’re Big.
Arrived in Punta Gorda on Thursday Nov 13 and visited cacao farmers up country, with Neil, the Green & Black’s supply chain manager and Lisa, our marketing manager and 4 journalists from the US and Canada.
The cacao crop at this time of year is fairly small, but is called ‘Christmas cacao’ because it generates extra cash in December to pay for presents. The varieties that are being developed and for grafting from budwood are starting to have an impact on yields, which is good news and farmers are getting a lot better at pruning, so the ever-present threat of monilia (a devastating disease) is diminished. Continue reading
The story of my beginnings goes back to 1965 when I first got into the macrobiotic diet. I had been travelling in Afghanistan and India and amoebic dysentery led to hepatitis. I discovered that a diet of unleavened wholemeal bread and unsweetened tea cured the dysentery and the hepatitis symptoms subsided. This was the beginning of my understanding of the importance of gut health to overall health. Back at university some friends introduced me to the macrobiotic diet and I adopted it enthusiastically Continue reading
On Monday (May 7th) of this week I was in Hastings at a celebration called ‘Jack in the Green’. A large leaf-covered man paraded through the streets, accompanied by hundreds of dancers and drummers dressed in leafy green garb, or as giants, foxes, deer and badgers. Continue reading
Most people have little idea where food comes from, but when they do, their expectations are shattered. Once they realise the huge contrast between organic farming and factory farming, they usually forget about price differences and become committed organic consumers, end of story. If that’s what it takes to win people to the organic cause, how do we get the message across? Continue reading