Friday, 14 October 2011

"The Great Food Debate"

We were kindly invited to this Cheltenham Literature Festival event by its sponsors, the SKGR Project; so it ill behoves me to speak ill of it. However, I'm bound to say I found the short hour all rather disappointing. Too many hares were set up and left unchased.

Jonathon Porritt was in the chair, the others on the stage being journalist/food writer Felicity Lawrence and Colin Tudge, promoter of the Campaign for Real Farming, originally a biologist. My frustration stemmed from the lack of any proper debate upon the platform; and from Jonathon's failure to pin the others down in answer to some quite sensible questions, including a couple from pupils of Cheltenham Ladies' College: it didn't help that in his usual way he took three questions at a time. So, we heard no argument as to how prices would remain stable following a transition to a more extensive (and organic) agriculture; and little response to a question about the effect of climate change on food supplies.

Afterwards, I overheard Jonathon saying that he had to put a zip on his mouth; but - I wanted to ask - for heaven's sake, why?

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