From the over use of antibiotics to the decline of family farms, the devastating impacts of agribusiness are increasing, and yet many of the true costs remain hidden. But now, as emerging innovations re-energize conversation, and as media coverage of pink slime, GMO labeling and confined animal factories (CAFOs) spread, it’s a powerful time to reclaim the future of food. Feeding the planet sustainably is one of our most pressing challenges, but our “consumption” culture is out of balance, and changing our shopping habits is not enough. It’s time to wake up to the reality of our food system. Farmers and philosophers like Fred Kirschenmann and Vandana Shiva, and teachers like Deepak Chopra or Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, remind us that everything is connected, and the way we produce and access our food matters. But there is so much information out there, it’s hard to find the truth.
Thankfully, whether you’re new to these issues, or a longtime activist, some creative media advocates have been doing a great job of informing people in engaging and meaningful ways. Ten years ago, Fast Food Nation was released, then the groundbreaking viral campaign TheMeatrix.com. 2006 brought Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and the films Food Inc. and The Dark Side of Chocolate have followed. And now we have The Prince’s Speech: On the Future of Food, a small book just published by Rodale Press. And somewhat surprisingly, it was written by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales. Though it hardly gets more elite than royalty, what many of us didn’t know is that Prince Charles, drawing on his over 30 years of experience as an organic farmer, has been a powerful and vocal advocate for sustainable agriculture for a very long time. He feels so strongly about this that just days after his son’s wedding in 2011, he came to Washington D.C. to deliver a powerful keynote speech at the Future of Food conference, where he literally made our jaws drop. I was there. The audience was mesmerized and then galvanized and inspired by his words of inter-connection. As Leslie Hatfield of EcocentricBlog.org pointed out,
“Prince Charles does not oversimplify the problems (including but not limited to overuse of water and energy; pollution of water, soil and air; and unjust labor conditions) created by our current methods of food production, or the solutions he puts forth – instead, he acknowledges the complexity of feeding a rapidly growing global population.”
I couldn’t agree more. Not only did the Prince’s eloquence shine a light on these issues, but he also ignited real hope for a more sustainable future. As they say, “you are what you eat,” and real change has to start with each of us taking a clear-sighted and informed look at how the choices we make as individuals impact the planet globally. It’s time we wake up and engage with the issues in deeper and more meaningful ways.
Destin is the Program Director at GRACE Communications Foundation and is involved with Sustainable Table, Eat Well Guide, and The Meatrix. To get inspired, visit: