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Action – The Great Re-Think

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Event Series Event Series: The Great Re-Think

April 17, 2021 @ 4:00 pm 6:00 pm CEST

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Session 2 – The Great Re-Think

with Colin Tudge and special guest Denise Walton

Saturday April 17
3:00pm BST |  4:00pm CEST

All sessions are live, recordings will be available for any sessions you can not attend.

All technologies are pertinent: both ‘high’emerging from science; and ‘low,’ aka artisanal or traditionalbased on craft. Above all, as E.F. Schumacher said, all technologies must be appropriateone reason why we need to spell out what we are really trying to achieve!

Beyond doubt, thoughif we truly aim to crate convivial societies while respecting our fellow creaturesthe most important technologies and crafts are those of food: agriculture and cooking.

The kind of agriculture that really could help us to achieve ‘convivial societies in a flourishing biosphere’ is what Colin calls ‘Enlightened Agriculture,’ aka ‘Real Farming.’ It is guided by the ideas of agroecology and food sovereignty. Both lead us towards mixed (polycultural), low-input (organic) farms that perforce are complex and so must be skills-intensive (plenty of farmer and growers) and so in general should be small to medium-sized. This is the precise opposite of the vast, high-input, minimum-to-zero labour monocultures that governments and corporates now promote (at our expense!). Clearly, it requires wholesale economic overhaul. The market economy cannot deliver.

Now for a great serendipity: there is a perfect one-to-one correspondence between Enlightened Agriculture, sound nutrition, and the greatest of the world’s cuisines as found on an axis from Italy to China. So all we really need to solve the world’s food problems (including much of the world’s problems of health and wildlife conservation) is to farm properly and to re-learn how to cook. Ersatz and veganism are not necessary. All will be revealed.

In short: the whole economy and social life should be built around (enlightened) farming and good cooking. At the moment both are subservient (like everything else) to the grand cause of maximizing and concentrating material wealth (in the forms of real estate and money).

** Among many obvious points for discussion are: Why does craft matter in the age of mass manufacture? What should be its role(s)? And: should we all be vegetarian? And—can we really produce high quality food for everyone? What about the cost? Etc.

Denise Walton, Farmer, Food Producer and Ecologist, lives in the Scottish Borders where she farms with her husband and son. Irish by nationality,  Denise was born and bought up in Central Africa. She studied horticulture in her native Ireland followed by degrees (to post-graduate level), in  Environmental Science and Landscape Ecology at the University of London. She  had her own practice for some 20 years as a Landscape and Ecological Advisor, during which she also lectured on conservation and wildlife management at Borders College for 9 years. In professional practice she was a member of both the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and the Landscape Institute. She is now fully involved as a partner in the farm business, in which she is Managing Partner with main responsibility for the diversification and development of  food production from the farm’s livestock  through the on-farm butchery and for the farm’s ecological management. She is a Soil Association Farmer Ambassador for Agroecology; On the Scottish steering group of The Nature Friendly Farming Network and a member of the PFLA Research Advisory Group.


April 17, 2021
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm CEST