Thursday, 24 March 2011

Conference on Sustainable Agriculture

Food and agriculture remain subjects of ongoing interest and importance.

Over the past year, a subgroup of our Council has been discussing sustainability in agriculture, and is preparing a report for the General Assembly in 2012.

Some weeks ago, we invited a range of experts to a conference to help us explore these concerns and learn more about the issues. The purpose of the conference was not to provide firm answers but to help shape the thinking of the Council in preparing the report.

After a keynote address by David Atkinson, Convener of the Scottish Churches' Rural Group, discussion workshops looked at different approaches to the topic.

Pete Ritchie of Whitmuir Farm introduced ‘Our mutual food’, a report exploring local sourcing of food.

Edinethics Director Donald Bruce discussed Science and agriculture - new technologies, new opportunities, new challenges, while Richard Frazer and Josiah Lockhart of the Grassmarket Community Project spoke about community supported agriculture: local food production, transition towns and allotments.

Other workshops explored the view from the farm: issues and challenges facing farmers, led by NFU Scotland representative John Picken and the view from the Scottish Government with Antje Branding.

Read a fuller report about the conference and its conclusions.

In its work on sustainable agriculture, the Council is particularly interested to explore the questions around what congregations can do. If you would like to contribute ideas and comments, please contact Climate Change Officer Adrian Shaw.

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