Friday, April 6, 2012


On May 4, 2011, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales gave the keynote speech to the ‘Future of Food Conference’ at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. His speech has been published as an essay by Rodale Books.
In his speech His Royal Highness Prince Charles analyzes elaborately the current state and future of agriculture and food production – discussing the many evident threats and challenges they are facing – and he also addresses the issue of reaching the maxim of sustainability.
Some of the challenges for food security he addresses in his speech are:
- Scarcity of land: We lose a lot of land to development every year. Prince Charles gives the example that in the USA “1 acre is lost to development every minute of every day”. Adding vast population growth in countries like India or China to the picture - in the future it will become a greater and greater challenge to find land which can be used for housing, as well as agriculture and livestock.
- Global Soil erosion: Every year 22 thousand square miles of land turns into desert; as an example, he states that in the USA soil is washed away 10 times faster than the Earth’s capacity of replenishing soil; the same is happening in India and China even much faster.
- Water depletion: in the USA alone, 1/5th of grain production needs irrigation; 1lb of beef production uses up 2,000 gallons of water. Prince Charles mentions that the Ogallala Aquifer alone looses 1.3 trillion gallons of water, and that rainfall cannot keep up with replenishing it. He also says that only 5% of water in the world is fresh, and that nearly all of it – except for Lake Baikal - is used up by humans for agriculture. This is set against estimates that we will need 45% more water by 2030 than we need today.
 His Royal Highness Prince Charles points out that we need to reach a sustainable state of agriculture. He defines a sustainable food production system as “a form of agriculture that does not exceed the carrying capacity of its local ecosystem and which recognizes that the soil is planet’s most vital renewable resource.”
If you would like to read more of HRH Prince Charles’ speech, you can also find it here:
Or, you can buy the book from Rodale Books.

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