|Prince Charles in the garden|
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales thinks he has some answers. Rodale Press, famous for its organic gardening books, has packaged a 64-page minibook that outlines the Prince’s take on the problems and solutions facing world agriculture. He offered these thoughts during in a speech at the conference on “The Future of Food” at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
The Prince said in his speech: “The world is gradually waking up to the fact that creating sustainable food systems will become paramount in the future because of the enormous challenges now facing food production.”
This is the challenge facing us, he said. We have to maintain a supply of healthy food at affordable prices when there is mounting pressure on nearly every element affecting the process.
“In some cases we are pushing Nature’s life-support systems so far, they are struggling to cope with what we ask of them,” the Prince said. “Soils are being depleted, demand for water is growing ever more voracious and the entire system is at the mercy of an increasingly fluctuating price of oil.
“Remember that when we talk about agriculture and food production, we are talking about a complex and interrelated system and it is simply not possible to single out just one objective, like maximising production, without also ensuring that the system which delivers those increased yields meets society’s other needs,” the Prince said. “As Eric (Schlosser) has highlighted, these should include the maintenance of public health, the safeguarding of rural employment, the protection of the environment and contributing to overall quality of life.”
Laurie David, advocate, award-winning producer and guest editor of the minibook THE PRINCE’S SPEECH, gushes. “Honestly, as I was listening to him speak my jaw dropped, along with everyone else’s, because the speech was such a clear and comprehensive explanation of what has gone so wrong with how we produce food in this country and what we need to do to get back on track.It was very clear to me that this speech needed to be read by everyone who eats!”
Agriculture has endured from the beginning of time through incremental improvements and adjustments. An example is the work of American agronomist Norman Borlaug who led the introduction of high yielding wheat varieties to Mexcio, Pakistan and India that greatly increased yields.
These yield increases have been labeled the beginning of the Green Revolution, and Borlaug is often credited with saving more than a billion people worldwide from starvation. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. The earth’s resources are both precious and resillient and a wider public understanding of the issues can only help in their sustainable use — but not because the sky is falling.
The Prince of Wales’s life and work is funded predominantly by large-scale farming
All the private and the large majority of the official and charitable activities of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are funded by The Prince’s annual private income from The Duchy of Cornwall estate, according to the Prince’s personal Web site. It says that since it was established in 1337 by Edward III for his eldest son Prince Edward, the Duchy’s main purpose has been to provide an income for the Heir to the Throne.
Today, the estate consists of about 54,424 hectares (about 135,000 acres of agricultural land) with farming operations in 23 counties, mostly in the South-West of England, and includes agricultural, residential and commercial property holdings. It also has a financial investment portfolio.
The average size farm in the U.S. is about 400 acres, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports in its census of agriculture.