ATP took part today in the Oxford Real Farming Conference at the Turl Street Kitchen in Oxford. Christopher Jones and Glyn Evans led on the topic “Why are you farming?” with help from Peter Carruthers, John Martin and Martin Hodson. The room was packed to overflowing for a vigorous discussion. We are working on a more detailed report and will post that later!
Picture shows (left to right): Peter Carruthers, Christopher Jones, John Martin and Glyn Evans.
Progress or Problem? Responding to Genetically Modified Food and Crops (Saturday March 2nd 2013)
The idea is a simple one. Transfer desirable genes from a donor organism into a plant to improve the recipient’s resistance to disease or herbicides, productivity or nutritional properties. Through genetically modified (GM) crops our problems of food supply would be solved or at least alleviated. But simplicity can be deceptive, and the controversy over GM crops and food has many different areas of concern. Are we „playing God‟ by moving genes between organisms and manipulating creation to this degree? As Christians, what are the ethical and theological implications? Is there a risk to food safety and what are the potential environmental dangers? And could a small number of multinational companies create a stranglehold over the food chain? Will GM crops help the developing world or become another means by which the developed world maintains control?
The Redcliffe College/JRI Environment Day will explore these questions and more. The main sessions and seminars are led by experts in the field, including Joe N Perry (European Food Safety Authority),, and John Weaver of the John Ray Initiative, and Christopher Jones MBE and Martin Hodson from ATP. The venue is in Redcliffe College, Gloucester and the day runs from 9.15am to 4.30pm on Saturday March 2nd 2013 and costs £38 including refreshments and a two-course hot buffet lunch. Download BOOKING FORM
ATP is pleased to announce the publication of CULTIVATING UNDERSTANDING- THE GROWTH, SPREAD AND USES OF KNOWLEDGE WITHIN FARMING by Christopher Jones MBE and Dr Dan Taylor (ATP Briefing Paper No 3).
Knowledge is not morally neutral. The ways in which it is developed, shared and used can enrich relationships, enhance social capital, and enable the struggling, as well as contributing general material benefits. In England and Wales, in the 25 years after the Second World War, the closely linked experimental husbandry farms and advisory service built up a network of farm related research and knowledge sharing within trusting relationships. This under-girded the restoration of the fabric of British agriculture after the long slump from 1870 to 1938, together with a transformation in animal health and food supply. Universities fueled this with basic independent and objective research. Extension work, which introduced the growing of swamp rice to the then eastern region of Nigeria, provides another example of effective knowledge sharing from the same era.
ATP is pleased to announce the publication of ‘IT’S ALL CAUSED BY WILD BIRDS’- SOME REFLECTIONS ON AVIAN FLU AND SWINE FLU AND THE ROLE OF BIRDS AS SCAPEGOATS by Susan Atkinson (ATP Briefing Paper No 2).
For all of the great advances made in medical science over recent decades, there is little or no progress made on the eradication of one of the most common causes of illness, namely influenza, usually known as flu. It is an infectious disease that affects both mammals and birds and one which is constantly changing to new strains. While for most humans the symptoms of fever, sore throat, headaches etc. are very unpleasant but thankfully short lived, in more serious cases flu can lead to potentially fatal pneumonia. Often those particularly at risk of flu becoming a life threatening illness are the elderly, young children and those with serious underlying health problems. It is now routine for the elderly, in the UK, to be vaccinated against flu every year, which reduces the risk, but does not eradicate it. The risk to all is increased if a new strain of the flu virus becomes a global pandemic; that is an epidemic that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population.
Christopher Jones and Ann Wright recently attended the Conference of the European Network of the International Rural Church Association (IRCA Europe), Sibiu, Romania (June 6th–12th 2012). Here is their REPORT on what happened at the conference.
Christopher Jones, the ATP co-director, was presented with his MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday 30th November 2011. The picture shows left to right: daughter Annabel; wife Ita; Christopher MBE; and daughter Catherine. Congratulations again!
Why farming matters: what is at stake
Food production: This is the most obvious concern. It is not just a matter of total global food production, though this is obviously important. It is also about where food is produced, what kind of food is produced and who controls it – as well as who can afford it. Closely linked are diet, health and much of local culture.
So much is obvious. What is not always remembered is that food security will be just as important in 10, 20 or 100 years time, and the way in which we nurture agricultural resources now will do much to determine future food security. It has been said that we face a “perfect storm” of growing population, shortage of energy and water and climate change.
An ATP Briefing paper from Christopher Jones. Download: GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD