Prince Charles: Small farms under threat from big agriculture

The Prince of Wales has called for more support for the UK's smaller, family-run farms
The Prince of Wales has called for more support for the UK's smaller, family-run farms

Small family farms across Britain are under threat from industrial agriculture and the pursuit of cheap food, Prince Charles has warned.

In an essay for BBC Radio 4's Today programme, the Prince of Wales said the 'heart will be ripped out of the British countryside' if this was allowed to happen.

Prince Charles criticised the intensive agricultural system that produces most of the UK's food as a 'dead end'.

On big farming's impact on the environment, Prince Charles pointed to damage to soils and watercourses, as well as the emissions that add to global warming.

“Around 35 years ago, I set out to show it was viable to adopt a sustainable approach to farming so that we could produce nutritious food without destroying the soil that grows it.

“Year after year, I’ve watched with increasing concern as many of this country’s precious landscapes were slowly diminished in the name of efficiency," he said.

In his 2-minute essay, he went on to praise footballer Marcus Rashford, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and businessman Henry Dimbleby for helping improve the 'field to fork' ethos.

“Farming can play a big part in protecting the planet. From field to fork extraordinary work is being done to try and build a better food system for everyone,” Prince Charles added.

“If we regenerate degraded soils around the world, we could capture as much as 70% of the world's carbon emissions. Only by benefiting nature can we benefit people.”

It comes as the second instalment of Henry Dimbleby's National Food Strategy is due to be released tomorrow (15 July).

The strategy is the first review looking at the United Kingdom's food system in nearly 75 years.

It is widely expected that the new release will include measures designed to encourage the public to eat less meat as part of a 'protein transition'.