Food and values – the organic future

I enjoyed Tuesday night’s City Food Lecture at the Guildhall. Check out the webcast, and my earlier blog posting. Lord Peter Melchett’s speech was about ‘Food and values – the organic future’, which stimulated a lively and at times robust debate. He painted a very optimistic picture of an organic future for agriculture in the UK, with a very personal account of his experiences growing up and farming in Norfolk, the use of pesticides and fertilisers in the post-war period, and more recent conversion to organic status.

While everyone recognised that organic food has firmly established a position in the market, not everyone agreed that organic was the answer to all of various inter-related challenges that we face on the future of farming; the rise in obesity; how to feed a growing world population and climate change. At the FSA we will continue to work with scientists and advise consumers on what the overall body of science says about the nutritional and safety aspects of organic and conventional foods, recognising that people make food choices for a wide range of ethical and cultural reasons that go beyond what the science says.

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