Church plans to reap what it sows with farming conference

Community supported agriculture and the issues and challenges faced by Scottish farmers will be scrutinised by a Church of Scotland body this week.

The Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council is holding a conference to discuss the questions and facts behind sustainable agriculture at home and overseas.  The conference being held at the Church of Scotland’s head offices in Edinburgh will also discuss what congregations can contribute.

Its aim is to help the Church and Society Council develop a report with recommendations to the General Assembly in 2012, a report that will, it is hoped provide insights and guidance for congregations.

Food and agriculture is a subject of ongoing interest and importance in Scotland and globally.  Developments and challenges often seem contradictory with real difficulties facing some farmers in Scotland on the one hand while huge subsidies are paid to others.  We’ve seen the rise of supermarkets as local shops have declined.

Rev Ian Galloway, Convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland said the need to feed seven billion people on Earth rising to possible nine billion later this century and the destruction of natural habitats to provide more agricultural land was just one of the many driving forces behind the event.

Mr Galloway said:  “Consideration of some of these issues persuaded the Church and Society Council to investigate the meaning of “sustainable agriculture” in more detail.  The investigation is focused on Scotland but must take into account developments elsewhere.

“The Council is aware that much work is already underway and is concerned to add to this work and not to duplicate it.  In particular the Council is interested to explore the question, ‘what can congregations do?’”

The conference will hear from speakers from farming communities including John Picken from the National Farmers Union.

• Full story at All Media Scotland.