23 Nov 2006
Soil Association Conference to Focus on Peak Oil and Relocalisation.
I am delighted to be able to tell you about the upcoming Soil Association conference, which will be held in Cardiff from the 25th to the 27th January 2007. The theme of the conference is **One Planet Agriculture: Preparing for a post-peak oil food and farming future**, and I have been very involved in designing the list of speakers and the theme for the event. It is a seminal moment for the Soil Association, being their 60th Anniversary conference. That they have put peak oil and relocalisation centre stage is a visionary and timely move. Speakers include Colin Campbell, Richard Heinberg, Jonathan Dimbleby, Rob Hopkins of Transition Culture, Jeremy Leggett, Kevin Morgan, Jeanette Orrey and Jonathon Porritt. It will be a fascinating and potentially historic weekend, and booking has now begun.
Of the theme of the conference, they write;
> There may be differing views on exactly when the tide will turn on our oil and carbon reserves, but many analysts predict that it is likely to happen before 2010. From the perspective of climate change, this is not a moment too soon. Although reserves will ensure reasonable availability for many decades subsequently, oil prices are likely to rise sharply, completely changing the dynamics of cost effectiveness in transport, food production, housing and alternative energy sources.
>A new and irresistible driver will then, over the next few years, force change in the way we live, farm and buy our food. Whilst many of us have anticipated these changes, it has been the debate over environmental care, closer connection between citizens and the land, and animal welfare that has raised awareness of the need to change both our methods of production and the means by which we process and distribute our food. In the future, however, what has been ‘nice to have’ will become imperative.
>The Soil Association’s role, working with many others, is to anticipate and prepare for these changes, for the benefit of our farmers and growers, food networks and society. This conference is an opportunity to take both a big picture look at what the surprisingly near future will bring and to discuss strategies that will allow us to move confidently forward into a world post peak oil.
I am also editing and writing some of a report which will accompany the conference, which will go deeper into the subject of post peak food and farming. I’ll let you know when that emerges nearer the time.