What’s on : Cafe-scientifique
Farming, food and climate change – can we eat our way to a brighter future?
Presented by Neil Douglas Fuller, Technical Director, Atlas Sustainable Soils Programme
The development of modern farming practices has been fundamental to providing food for a growing global population. Mechanisation, the introduction of synthetic Nitrogen fertiliser and the routine application of crop protection agents are just part of an agricultural revolution that has effectively doubled the performance of crop and livestock systems around the world.
But this increase in productivity has come at a cost. As farms have increased in size and become more specialised, the biodiversity of the rural landscape has declined. As farming has intensified and yields have increased, the nutritional density of food has decreased. As the Carbon footprint of food has escalated, the Carbon content of soil has halved, compromising the sustainability of farming practices and the eco-system services that soil is an integral part of.
It would appear that agricultural policy has created a major dilemma – do farmers continue to use current practices in order to feed a growing global population, and risk degrading the environment beyond repair; or do we change farming practices in order to preserve the environment, and risk the food security of billions of people?
Can we grow high yielding, nutritious food, and make a significant positive contribution to the environment? Farmers in Yorkshire are clearly showing that they can. And the key is Carbon. By adopting practical measures that take Carbon from the atmosphere, where it is causing problems, and put it into the soil, where it belongs, this dedicated group of pioneering farmers are improving the quality of soil, air, water and food.
This presents us with a fantastic opportunity. If the benefits that are occurring at farm level can be transferred throughout the entire supply chain, from soil to supermarket and beyond, could the way we choose our food and support our farmers, allow us to eat our way to a brighter future?
Mailing list members will be sent an invitation to this event on Zoom shortly before the event.