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-> Greens Press -> Green Party MEP for South-East England
42772006-01-05

Green Party MEP for South-East England


January 5th,
2006


Photocall Media Invitation Photocall Media Invitation

GREEN MEP TO ADDRESS SOIL ASSOCIATIONS 60th ANNUAL CONFERENCE

- LUCAS OFFERS CHALLENGE TO CAMERON OVER GREEN FOOD


Event: Green MEP addresses Soil Association 60th annual
conference
Place: The Brewery Conference Centre, Barbican, London
Time: TOMORROW, Friday, January 6th, 9am


Feeding our cities this century will require a shift towards more local
production and away from supermarket domination of the retail sector, Green
Party Euro-MP and Principle Speaker Caroline Lucas will tell the Soil
Associations 60th annual conference this Friday.

Our urbanized societies are becoming increasingly reliant on a few big food
retailers and a complicated logistics and transport network for their food
supplies, Dr Lucas will say.

We must shift towards a more sustainable model of food production, based on
locally-grown, organic food, to be sure of maintaining an adequate supply in
the face of increasingly likely oil shortages, climate change and
food-related health scares such as Avian Flu.

The MEP for South-East England will tell the Soil Association that radical
measures are needed to protect and encourage the local food sector: new
rules limiting the size of supermarkets and banning new out-of-town
superstores, reforming EU and WTO rules which prohibit public procurement
policies based on prioritizing local supplies, and banning GM crops across
the EU.

We need regulation of supermarkets to require them to maintain minimum
standards in their supply chains selling more locally-produced organic
food and treating their producers fairly and to limit their size so
further expansion is not at the expense of independent and community food
retailers.

Dr Lucas said she feared an opening speech at which Tory leader David
Cameron was expected to offer support for the organic sector would be yet
more window-dressing.

Speaking before Mr Camerons address to a reception hosed by Jonathan
Dimbleby tonight (Thursday, January 5th) to mark the conference, Dr Lucas
said:

We expect David Cameron to say the New Tories will support small organic
farmers and encourage supermarkets to offer more home-grown organic produce
which limits the need for long-haul transportation to shops.

But what he WONT say is how he will do this: that the law must be used to
limit the power of supermarkets, that the rules of world trade must be
changed or that GM should be banned across the EU to protect and preserve
conventional non-GM and organic agriculture.

I challenge him to adopt policies, like these, which will actually make a
difference. But the simple truth is that doing so would be fundamentally at
odds with the views of very people who bankroll his party and he would be
out of his new job long before his views are ever put to voters.

We are beginning to see a pattern with David Cameron: he makes all the
right-sounding noises but falls well short of adopting the policies that
will deliver on his overtures. His environmental dream team of Zac
Goldsmith and John Gummer have been charged with formulating long-term
policies which will make Britain a better place to live without
constraining economic growth and thats the problem. Only by addressing
the way we measure progress and shifting from the blind pursuit of ever-more
economic growth to policies aimed at increasing social wellbeing will we
make Britain a better and more sustainable place to live.

By failing to realize this and by stopping short of announcing policies
which would actually make a difference to the food we eat he is offering
little more than window-dressing.

Dr Lucas will be speaking on the first day of the Soil Associations 60th
annual conference, which takes place tomorrow and Saturday at the Brewery
Conference Centre, Barbican, London.

The event boasts some of the most respected speakers in the field: Dr Lucas
will speak alongside Jonathan Porritt, Monty Don, John Humphreys, Rosie
Boycott and Soil Association director Patrick Holden.






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