Patrick Holden

The Global Food Movement

Join TNS Host Michael Lerner in a conversation with Patrick Holden—British biodynamic dairy farmer and advisor to the Prince of Wales.

Patrick grew up in London but was deeply influenced by a year he spent in California at the beginning of the seventies. He returned to the UK to study biodynamic agriculture and started a community dairy farm in West Wales in 1973. It is now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales, with a herd of 75 Ayrshire cows – the milk from which is made into raw milk cheese by his son, Sam.

Global Food Movement

Patrick Holden

Patrick is the founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust. Between 1995 and 2010, he was the director of the Soil Association and became a much sought-after speaker and campaigner for organic food and farming. He spearheaded a number of prominent food campaigns around BSE, pesticide residues and GM food. More recently, he was a member of the UK Government’s working group on the Foresight Report into Future of Food and Farming and is advisor to the Prince of Wales International Sustainability Unit.

  • OldVet

    It is true of forests as well as agriculture that soil is the engine of fecundity. Few foresters are aware that the Gobi used to be a forest before it was a desert. Now it bleeds yellow silt down the Yellow river to form the Yellow Sea.

    When will we stop mining the soil of agriculture and forest?

    The nubben of the quandary, as I see it, is transforming humans from being a problem into a being a gift, a resource. Scale has everything to do with that, and so does working with the soil. I am a gardener and know that. Soil can improve with knowing humans and appropriate scale. Jefferson’s yeoman farmer was just that vision.

    Lord Robert Skidelsky, also a Brit like Patrick Holden, wrote How Much Is Enough where he points out that Keynes (another Lord) thought that we would be working 15 hours a week by now. It is as if Keynes foresaw the age of robots that now surrounds us that we cannot see. Manufacturing can, and is being done by robots…. and that could be good…. if we could share, and forego ‘growth’ which is just another scale of cancer; A wheel to stop kicking.

    What a great podcast. Imagine a ‘cultivated’ society…………. one that could engage in agricultural as well as cultural cultivation.
    Where is the sculpture district in your town?

    How do we trade in Swallowing Monster for that vision? ………………. Creating art and good farms and great food… and some fine human beings.. And recognizing how the drug of commercialism surrounds us as water surrounds a fish.

    PS. Michael, I clammed on Duxbury reef in the 50s and 60s. And know how and when and by whom blue water Bolinas bay got filled with silt.