Speech delivered by Sir Julian Rose at the launch of “The Charter for Real Food and Real Farming” in the Polish President’s Palace in Warsaw, 13th June 2017
First published in The Connor Post
It is on occasions like this that we can stand back, clear our minds and see the bigger picture.
What is the bigger picture?
It is that the EU promotes a policy of food production – and consumption – which comes nowhere near supporting the health and well being of the citizens of its member states. Not only this, it is fundamentally destructive to local economies, to the soil and to the biodiversity of habitats which support all life on earth.
The EU is locked into an agrichemical and monocultural system of farming which is sponsored by corporations which have a completely dominant role in setting policy, right across the region.
Corporations that operate within a deeply aggressive global market place, and whose only goals are profit and power. Yes, only goals.
How can the land thrive and people find health under such a cruel and deeply irresponsible regime?
With few exceptions, it is a disaster. A disaster which member state governments turn a blind eye to, ignoring the time-honored wisdom of the land and indigenous knowledge of their own best farmers, just so as to conform to this utterly sterile corporate and EU agenda.
I hope everyone understands the critical nature of the position we are in. Another decade of treating the land this way will destroy the last remaining vestige of soil fertility, and lead to coming generations having to face a life of extreme scarcity, and quite possibly starvation.
Yes, it is indeed time for radical change.
So let’s use this occasion to launch an agenda which will change this horror, by placing real food and real farmers at the forefront of agricultural concerns – and consigning corporations to the shadows that they came from.
Is there any evidence from other countries that a return to real food and real farming are showing signs of revival?
Yes, there is! And I’ll use some recent positive initiatives in my native United Kingdom, as an example.
Eight years ago, an annual event was launched called ‘The Oxford Real Farming Conference’, it was the brainchild of a biologist and writer, Dr Colin Tudge, a man with a keen vision of a better way forward which he launched under the title “The Campaign for Real Farming: A people’s takeover of the world’s food supply”.
Please note ‘people led’. This is an essential condition for any progress to be made by humanity, on any and all fronts today. We have more than enough experience by now, to recognize that ‘top-down’ authoritarian approaches to solving human dilemmas, always ignore and block any attempts by the people to have their voice taken seriously.
When the Real Farming Conference and Campaign was launched some eight years ago, the number of those attending and involving themselves, was small. But year by year it grew. And three years ago it required the whole of Oxford’s Town Hall to accommodate participants!
At close to one thousand, it has now well surpassed the numbers attending the conventional Oxford Farming Conference, which takes place at the same time in one of the Oxford University colleges – and has been doing so for some seventy years.
Forward thinking farmers, gardeners, consumers, soil scientists, nutritionalists, habitat specialists and many more, cram into the Town Hall to learn from and support this burgeoning movement.
Jadwiga and I have spoken at this event for the past three years, telling the story of Poland’s beleaguered family farmers; and how the incomprehensible Polish food laws continue to prevent some of the best quality farmhouse foods in Europe ever getting to the public.
There is a growing hunger for distinctive, flavorful, locally grown foods in the UK, as well as in many other European Countries. This has spurred on many beef and sheep producers to cease feeding bought-in ‘concentrate’ animal feeds, typically used in winter to fatten their livestock. Instead they are shifting back to an entirely ‘pasture fed’ programme.
The nutritional benefits of eating meats raised this way, are now being recognized even in conventional circles. This demonstrates how ‘time honored’ methods, abandoned in favor of mass produced concentrate feeds like GM maize and soya, cannot be ignored and pushed aside. Especially if one cares at all about about real food, real nutrition and real health.
The Pasture Fed Livestock Group is growing rapidly, with many butchers also favoring its meat.
Also in the UK, a similar farmer led movement is reintroducing the ‘micro dairy’ (small scale dairy farming) as a better economic proposition than trying to compete in the viciously controlled, corrupted and saturated milk industry market.
Here small herds – from say 4 to 20 cows – are raised and maintained using ecological methods and a traditional grass-fed diet. The milk (mostly unpasteurised) is bottled or cartoned and sold direct from the farm. The equipment involved is very ‘low tech’, so as to avoid borrowing from the bank and facing the typically stressful consequences.
Cheeses and yogurts are also often made on such farms, and are increasingly popular with the public. In all such examples, the ‘middle man’ is cut out – and the farmer sells direct – thereby maximizing economic returns.
It is noteworthy that, here in Poland, the Wielkapolska Pig Breeders Association recently recognized that “Sources of success in agriculture depend upon specialization and concentration of production – this is the condition and demand of the present economy.”
Yes, that is the demand of the present economy; however, what happens when one follows the demands of the present economy is all too often bad news. Heavy borrowing, over capitalization in equipment and buildings and a massive loan, on which one must pay back both the interest and capital within a limited space of time.
This in turn very often leads to over-intensification of the farming practice, soil, crop and animal sickness and an ever heavier reliance upon agrichemicals and pharmaceutical drugs.
This is the disaster I spoke of at the beginning of this talk. It is happening on a global scale and is deadly for all concerned, except the pharmaceutical and agrichemical companies, who profit hugely.
Taking Poland down this route is the most thoughtless and short-sighted action any Minister of Agriculture could take.
It is the contention of the author and supporters of the document we are launching today ‘The Charter for Real Farming and Real Food’ that Poland has another and greater destiny than blindly following a failing ‘status quo’. A status quo in which economic policies, everywhere on this planet, are dictated by uncontrolled and highly speculative bankers, self appointed multi millionaire political figure-heads and mafia style free agents. Are these the sort of people you turn to for advice?
The European Commission, which runs the affairs of the European Union, is headed by a group of highly ambitious, unelected technocrats. These people play a huge role in setting the agenda for agricultural practices throughout the member states. Via its deeply unfair and biased agricultural subsidy system, The Commission ensures that the biggest farms get the gold and the smaller farms get the copper crumbs.
It is a totally fixed agenda and is directly linked-in with the ambitions of the world’s largest and most brutal corporations.
Any Minister of Agriculture bowing to the commands of this devious cabal, should either change his ways, or immediately be asked to step down from office.
Here’s an example of how Brussels, and EU ‘democracy’, actually works. You may have read that it is considering a proposal to extend the use of Glyphosate (Roundup) for another ten years. The World Health Organization, two years ago, declared glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic.” Hundreds of studies have arrived at similar or more affirmative positions. Evidence that Roudup is a highly toxic herbicide is overwhelming.
Yet the Commission’s Food Safety Agency, under extreme pressure from Monsanto, the creator of Roundup and other agrichemical/pharmaceutical giants including the infamous European Farming Union COPA COGECA , reaches the conclusion that this product is “not dangerous”.
The European Commission then asks the ‘European Chemical Agency’ to give an opinion. Yes, the European Chemical Agency. And, surprise, surprise, the agency says “Research carried out so far cannot qualify glyphosate as a carcinogen and cause of infertility.” Yet Professor Seralini, of the Caen laboratory in France, had clearly demonstrated a link to infertility in his peer reviewed research paper of five years ago.
Other equally well qualified researchers from other Countries have reached the same conclusion.
France and the Netherlands have already banned Roundup from all garden centres.
Now there will be a meeting called in which all member states, via their commissioners, will vote on a resolution. And according to European Union laws, only a ‘qualified majority’ can provoke a clear cut decision: a ban. This ‘qualified majority’ is almost never achieved, so the chairman of the European Commission has the final voice.
Is he going to put his neck on the block and stand up for ‘the precautionary principle’? Stand up for the protection of wildlife, soils, people and nature – against desolation by the unrestrained forces of a cut-throat globalized marketplace.?
If he does, it will mark a sea-change in the way the Commission conducts its business. If he doesn’t, it will be ‘life as usual’. Corruption, deception, lies and an overwhelming desire to hold onto power, at any cost.
The same formula used by the majority of senators and parliamentarians who hold government office at this time.
I fully support the initiative taken by Colin Tudge of the Oxford Real Farming campaign, only “a people’s take-over of the world’s food supply” can break through the stranglehold exerted by this criminal government/corporate partnership.
Let this event, here in the President’s Palace, mark our launching of a parallel Polish initiative. One which will strive equally, to enable people to break out of their prisons and to take charge of their destinies.
Yes, friends, these are the very real battle-lines confronting us all today. To be brave and stand-up for truth, justice and honor; or capitulate to the lowest common denominator, and become gutless slaves to both the hidden and visible pseudo-masters who are taking this world to the brink of destruction.
There can be no sitting on the fence. It’s a stark ‘yes’ or ‘no’ choice. And it needs to be to taken now.
View the Charter here
“The Charter of Real Farming and Real Food”
We, the undersigned, believe that industrial methods of food production constitute a very serious threat to the Polish people and the Polish countryside, and therefore we URGE the President and the Polish Government to respect the voice of the majority of their electorate and immediately implement the postulates of the BELWEDER DECLARATION: “The Charter of Real Farming and Real Food”.
BELWEDER DECLARATION: “The Charter of Real Farming and Real Food”
Having in mind respect for the beautiful traditions of peasant family farms, which in a unique way contribute towards the preservation of culture and biodiversity of crops in the Polish countryside and the best foods available in Europe;
recognising the key role of small and medium farms in the protection and preservation of food sovereignty that is essential for the basic supply of food for the Nation;
and believing that the only way that can guarantee optimal health and good condition of natural environment is the promotion of a diet based on local high-quality foods and the preservation of country landscape marked by natural biodiversity,
we demand that the President and the Polish Government:
– Immediately start implementing a conscious policy whose aim is the protection and promotion of true qualities of the Polish countryside which serve the Polish Nation, and which are currently being irrevocably devastated by rapid globalisation and development of industrial farming.
– Remove the restrictions concerning the possibility to buy a full range of products from local farmers by shops, schools, restaurants and other institutions.
– Support and develop a strategy whose aim is the preservation of a large number of farmers and the traditional mosaic of family farms, and the development of strong, local and regional outlets, including an immediate implementation of a long-standing protection programme, as well as financial, expertise and promotion support for small and medium family farms.
– Support eco-agrotourism, the processing of foods on farms and the use of renewable energy sources.
– Take measures against air pollution (low emission from homesteads and farmhouses) in the Polish countryside.
– Implement an immediate ban on the sales, cultivation and production of GMOs, as well as an effective strategy for the production of GMO-free Polish animal feeds.
– Limit and completely withdraw industrial farming methods and make it possible for a long-term lease of land, currently in the hands of governmental agencies, to young, ambitious farmers who want to produce foods with the use of traditional and organic methods. Today, this will provide jobs form them and in future for their children, and will provide the Nation with good and healthy foods.
– Introduce organic faring methods into schools’ and universities’ curriculums as one of the main directions and not just an alternative to industrial methods of food production.
We urge the President and the Polish Government to protect the unique geographical and historical strength of Poland based on traditional Polish countryside and create/draw a new vision of farming in order to prevent the imminent global catastrophe that threatens life and health of mankind and biodiversity.
We urge the President and the Polish Government to stop promoting the current agricultural policy based on highly chemical, industrial farming that can lead hundreds of thousands farmers to bankruptcy, soils to degradation and the country to food catastrophe.
We demand a fast answer concerning the implementation of the above postulates.
I hereby agree to the processing of my personal data for the purposes of the BELWEDER DECLARATION: “The Charter of Real Farming and Real Food”
Sir Julian Rose, farmer and author, the President of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside (ICPPC)
Jadwiga Łopata, Goldman Prize winner, educational organic farm – the ICPPC ECOCETRE
dr Jacek J. Nowak, em. prof. SW, independent scientist, ICPPC’s advisor
Edyta Jaroszewska-Nowak, President of Ekoland o/ZPM, BIOEDEN FARM, NSZZ Solidarność RI o/ZPM
Anna Bednarek, President of Stowarzyszenie Best Proeko-CIS
Lena Huppert, President of Fundacji Wspierania Rozwoju Kultury i Społeczeństwa Obywatelskiego QLT (QLT Foundation)
Anna Szmelcer, President of Stowarzyszenia Polska Wolna od GMO (GMO Free Poland)
Dorota Staszewska, doctor, Stowarzyszenie Polska Wolna od GMO (GMO Free Poland)
dr Jarosław Sachajko, President of Stowarzyszenie Rolników i Konsumentów Kukiz’15 (Farmers’ and Consumers’ Association Kukiz’15)
Jolata Dal, family farm Ohanadal, councillor
Julian is a prolific writer and broadcaster, his articles appear in a wide diversity of journals and on-line sites. He is also currently President of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside and spends much of each year in Poland. He is also the author of two acclaimed titles: Changing Course for Life and In Defence of Life. Read more on www.julianrose.info.