Can Veganism Save the World?
(2pm Main Tent)
In the rural idyll of the Somerset Levels, nothing grows better or more sustainably than grassy pastures. So, meat and dairy production is at the heart of our mild and damp west country agriculture. Of course much else grows here as well but we are a long way from the more intensive farming of the Eastern counties, and are therefore shielded from the fact that our current conventional food and agriculture system is broken. Yes, food has never before existed in such abundance, but that abundance has come at an increasingly catastrophic environmental, health and social cost resulting from agricultural intensification and commoditisation of the food industry. Soil degradation and erosion, pesticide and nutrient pollution, antibiotic resistance, deforestation, appalling animal welfare, over-processed junk food causing a plethora of diet-related ill health, deepening poverty and indebtedness for the rural poor, concentration of the agri-food industry into a small handful of mega-powerful corporations, and a significant contribution to climate change are all direct by-products of this system.
Of our global population, some one billion people are hungry and a further one billion are mal-nourished, yet also another one billion are over-nourished (overweight or obese). Such inequality is an indictment of our times and, arguably, the market economy.
How to resolve? There is a clear need to reduce consumption of meat and dairy and to increase consumption of vegetables, fruit, seeds and pulses. But what are the arguments for eliminating livestock entirely from our farms, and meat and dairy from our diets? Would that solve some, all or any of these problems? Does it stack up environmentally, nutritionally, socially, ethically? Come along to our debate to find out and to explore these issues with our impressive panel of speakers:
- Sheila Dillon is an award winning food journalist and has presented BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme for over 20 years, and hosts the BBC Radio Food and Farming Awards;
- Simon Fairlie runs a micro-dairy in Dorset and wrote Meat: A Benign Extravagance. He is founding editor of The Land magazine and has been instrumental in reviving the (almost) lost art of scything in this country;
- Dr Alice Brough made the transition to veganism whilst working as a pig industry vet, and eventually gave up her career to become an activist for animals, humans and the environment.
Join us in the Main Tent at 2pm – we look forward to seeing you there!
2016 Debate – FLOODING
Edited presentations from local landowner Julian Temperly, campaigner George Monbiot
and local Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. Chaired by Francis (Herbi) Blake.
Filmed at the Green Scythe Fair, Somerset, 12th June 2016 by Frances Aitken