In an essay read aloud on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday, Prince Charles outlined the consequences of modern industrial farming, citing damage to soil and watercourses that contribute to climate change.
“We must put nature back at the heart of the equation”, he said.
“Such has been the damage to the natural systems we depend upon, we must achieve profound and rapid change to reverse it.
“With roughly half of all the habitable land on Earth used for agriculture. I cannot think of a sector more central to the survival of the planet.”
He added: “How we produce food has a direct impact on the Earth’s capacity to sustain us, which has a direct impact on human health and economic prosperity.
“But our current approach will lead to a dead end, no matter how cost effective intensive food production appears to be.”
Charles went on to praise England footballer Marcus Rashford for his campaigns against child hunger - he successfully got the government to U-turn on the provision of free school meals during the holidays - and British TV chef Jamie Oliver, for promoting a balanced diet to schoolchildren.
The heir apparent also singled out Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon and the leader of a review of the UK’s food system and the link between production and environmental damage, which is due to come out on Thursday.
“Farming can play a big part in protecting the planet. From field to fork extraordinary work is being done to try and build a better food system for everyone,” the Prince of Wales said.
“Be it Jamie Oliver, promoting education on a balanced diet, Henry Dimbleby’s ambitions for safe, healthy and affordable food or Marcus Rashford, whose mission off the football field is to tackle child hunger. “
Prince Charles concluded by calling for an improvement on soil health.
“If we regenerate degraded soils around the world, we could capture as much as 70 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions,” he said.
“Only by benefitting nature can we benefit people.”
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