Patrick Holden CBE, Director of the Soil Association speaks with Kay Langlois of BBC Radio Guernsey Part 3

March 4th, 2010 by Richard Lord

From BBC Guernsey: How self-sufficient could Guernsey be?

2020 M02 230210 Patrick Holden BBC radio part 3

Kay Langlois asked “Could we really go back to being self-sufficient?”

Patrick Holden: “Not entirely self-sufficient.  The UK mainland can only be about 60% self-sufficient and it may be less than that for Guernsey but that isn’t any reason not to try as hard as we can to produce as greater percentage as possible from the wonderful farm land you have here…

I gather there is a lot of semi-derelict greenhouse infrastructure, which could be resurrected which could produce year round supplies of salads and winter vegetables.  It is surprising how a few degrees of extra temperature you get in a greenhouse can extend the production of fresh vegetables right through the winter.

I think you need a strategic Food Plan for Guernsey and in it would be a much higher valuation on the wonderful, delicious Guernsey produce that can be grown through the year.

Some people will always have to think about price.  It may be more expensive to have a Food Plan because we need to think about food security.  And I think that as the price of fossil fuels goes up, which it inevitably will, doing the right thing, which is sustainable organic farming, which at the moment costs more may end up costing less because the people doing the polluting in farming in a non-sustainable way may have to pay higher and higher prices – penalties if you like – for putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

We need to think ahead and do the right thing for our children and we mustn’t think of it as just giving up.  This is something which can be quality of life enhancing as well as better for the planet.

There’s a mood change going on – I was with some students at Ladies College in the upper sixth talking to them about economic issues and what staggered me was the degree of sophistication of their understanding of these issues.  It is as if they have taken on the mantle of responsibility already even though they are only 17 or 18.  They are thinking about sustainability for the future so I think there is a lot of cause for hope at the moment. … There’s a mood change and a change of attitude about sustainability.

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