THE CAMPAIGN FOR REAL FARMING
THE COLLEGE FOR ENLIGHTENED AGRICULTURE
A Declaration of Intent
The Campaign promotes Enlightened Agriculture – aka “Real Farming”: “Farming that is expressly designed to feed people without wrecking the rest of the world”.
If this was truly the world’s intent, then we could feed everyone who is ever liable to be born to the highest standards both of nutrition and gastronomy; and we, humanity, could be looking forward to the next million years.
But we won’t get anywhere near all this if we rely on present-day governance – big governments, corporates, and banks, supported by their paid intellectuals and experts. We – humanity — have to take our own affairs into our own hands. So the Campaign aims for nothing less than
“A people’s takeover of the world’s food supply”.
To achieve this, we need to re-think the world’s agriculture from first principles – husbandry, technology, science, economics, governance, morality. This is the role of The College. We aim to attract the world’s most accomplished thinkers – but even more important is the genius of the people. Agriculture and the world’s cuisines were devised over tens of thousands of years by people at large. The College must be a people’s forum.
If enough people get involved, we can surely build the critical mass that could rescue us all, and the world at large, even at this late hour.
Colin and Ruth Tudge, January 8 2011
The Campaign for Real Farming sprung up in 2009 as a scion of LandShare, in turn established with the generous support of the Hollybush Trust. Co-founders of the Campaign, and co-editors of this website, are Colin Tudge and Ruth Tudge (aka Ruth West).
Colin Tudge is a townie by origin – South London – but fell in love with agriculture on a visit to a farm in Lancashire on his 10th birthday (in 1953). He went on to read zoology at Cambridge – and then began to write for a living, mainly for Farmers Weekly and New Scientist, and then for BBC Radio 3. In these roles he has been able to look at farming and agricultural research in dozens of countries in all the habitable continents. In the 1980s, he wrote scientific reports for the old Agricultural and Food Research Council, and so visited virtually all the original AFRC research stations. He attended the first World Food Conference in Rome in 1974 and there realized that the world’s food problems were not caused by lack of resources or the foolishness of farmers but by misguided policy and inappropriate technologies. In his first book, The Famine Business (1977) he argued that the food industry, then dominated by processors who were hooked on “tvps” (textured vegetable proteins), was making things worse. Now that the industry (and governments) are hooked on gmos, he has a great sense of déjà vu. Colin’s personal website is www.colintudge.com.
Ruth Tudge (West) has followed a varied career from community worker in London’s east end in the early ’70s to coordinator of a farmers’ market in the last few years. In between she has worked as a researcher and campaigner in the areas of health, the environment and human rights with spells as consultant for the WHO, UNEP and the Commonwealth Secretariat; run a research foundation exploring subjects that don’t fit the current scientific paradigm — which at the time included climate change, as well as dowsing and healing; and got involved in setting up a social enterprise with a group of indigenous women in the Peruvian Andes.
Suzanne Wynn (Food Editor) teaches seasonal cookery using ingredients local to her home in Somerset. As the former Chair of SlowFood UK’s Ark of Taste commission, she championed artisan producers whose traditional foods are threatened by modern production and distribution methods. During this time she noted that artisan producers, unlike their counterparts in modern farming, were often joined in the business by their offspring. Despite the difficulties they faced, she found them generally more optimistic than their counterparts, and certainly more filled with pride in the work they were doing.