God bless the Prince of Wales.
Once again, he used his position of influence very thoughtfully this week. At the Langenburg Forum, a German conference on regional – and global – food security, he took on the Emperor of food-production big business and pointed unhesitatingly to the naked truth.
The drive to make food “cheaper” for consumers while it earns corporations bigger profits is sucking out of the food-production system the very things that are critical to its sustainability – and the planet’s, he said.
“I am talking here about obvious things like the vitality of the soil and local ecosystems, the quality and availability of fresh water and so on, but also about less obvious things, like local employment and people’s health.” He noted that such spiraling costs as those of type 2 diabetes and obesity-related disease, coupled with practices that damage the environment really mean that cheap food production is “not cheap at all”.
“Big global corporations may appear to be prospering out of operating on a global monocultural scale but, as I hope you have seen, if you drill down into what is actually happening, things are not so healthy,” Prince Charles said. Not only are current methods of farming depleting crops’ integrity, but also rendering the food system itself “ever more vulnerable to the various external shocks that are becoming more varied, extreme and frequent.”
“The only reason [food] appears cheap in the shops is because the costs either fall somewhere else, or they are being stored up for the future,” he said.
“The price of apparently cheap food is costing nothing less than the Earth.”
What a keeper of a summary line – a rallying call. Spoken in one of my favorite places on the planet, the pristine hilltop setting of Langenburg, Germany.
“Langenburg” means “long mountain”. Meeting and surmounting the challenges, ignorance, and downright treachery in this planet-wide issue can feel like a “long mountain” to climb, too. But we are doing it. And making measurable progress, now. Progress enough that a global media may have been silent about it recently. But not a brave man who, whether or not he ever serves as King, certainly knows what true service is.
Read more about Prince Charles’s address at: