Prince Charles' warning over survival of small farms

Prince Charles warns ‘the heart will be ripped out of the British countryside’ if small farms are driven out of business by industrial agriculture – as he praises Marcus Rashford for food campaign

  • Prince of Wales has expressed concern over UK reliance on industrial agriculture
  • He warns if family-run farms are run out of business it will devastate countryside
  • Charles commended high-profile food campaigners including Marcus Rashford 

Prince Charles (pictured) says letting small farms go out of business will be devastating for the British countryside

Prince Charles has warned the ‘heart will be ripped out of the British countryside’ if small, family-run farms are allowed to go out of business.

Small independent farms are under threat from industrial agriculture and the focus on producing plentiful and cheap food, he says.

In an essay for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Prince of Wales has criticised the intensive agricultural system that produces most of our food as a ‘dead end’ and says we fail to take account of the ‘hidden costs’ of super-efficient farming.

But he did express optimism that change could be achieved and praised the efforts of high-profile campaigners including footballer Marcus Rashford who last year was awarded an MBE for his efforts to feed the nation’s schoolchildren. 

It comes ahead of the publication of the National Food Strategy which is due to be released tomorrow.

Restaurateur Henry Dimbleby will put forward the proposals as part of a National Food Strategy aimed at improving the nation’s health, according to sources.

It is expected to include a focus on the link between intensive farming and the climate crisis 

Ministers plan to respond in a White Paper in six months but sources cautioned earlier this week that none of the recommendations were ‘set in stone’.

Pictured: Prince Charles visits FarmED, a new centre for farm and food education

In his essay, Prince Charles says: ‘We must put nature back at the heart of the equation.

‘How we produce food has a direct impact on the Earth’s capacity to sustain us, which has a direct impact on human health and economic prosperity.’

The Prince of Wales was optimistic that the country can achieve change and move towards more sustainable farming.

As well as praising Marcus Rashford, he also commended celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Henry Dimbleby for helping the nation improve ‘from field to fork’. 

Pictured: Prince Charles walks with FarmED founders Ian and Celene Wilkinson during his visit

He also referenced his visit to FarmED, a new centre for farm and food education at Honeydale Farm, in Oxfordshire, last month. 

The FarmED centre provides learning spaces and events that inspire, educate, and connect people to build sustainable farming and food systems – something which healthy soil is crucial to, say experts.

He concluded: ‘If we regenerate degraded soils around the world, we could capture as much as 70% of the world’s carbon emissions. Only by benefitting nature can we benefit people.’

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