Speaking today at “The Future of Food” conference at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, H.R.H. Prince Charles said that a long hard look is needed in the way public subsidies are geared in the food system. He said that his concern is that we seek to provide the healthiest food possible from the healthiest environments possible. He pointed out that sustainable management of fisheries, such as the North Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, can provide much greater economic returns than unsustainable fishery practices.
Prince Charles asked whether it is responsible in the long term to have much of our food supply coming from highly centralized production systems.
Arguing in favour of smallholder production he urged strengthening economic and environmental diversity to protect from potential food system shocks. There are alternative ways to growing our food that could strengthen the resilience of our agriculture, marine and energy systems. He urged including in the bottom line the true costs of food production and the full costs of environmental services: Accounting for Sustainability. His presentation drew on several UN studies on the capacity of organic production systems to meet the world’s need for food and on the ways to avoid market failures in food production systems. He said that we have to do more today to avoid the catastrophes of tomorrow and this means putting nature at the heart of our food production system.
The Prince’s speech can be seen and heard at http://washingtonpostlive.com/conferences/food/live