With over 20 dates behind me on the Farmageddon speaking tour, I’m now heading to the United States. I’m looking forward to seeing longstanding supporters and meeting people new and inspiring.
The last five months since Farmageddon came out have gone in a flash! It has been incredibly exciting to be out talking about the issues and to see how well the book has been received. Here’s a quick summary of events so far…
Compassion’s wonderful patron, Joanna Lumley, hosted the launch of Farmageddon at Daunt Books in Marylebone, London on what was a magic evening! Thanks so much to everyone who packed the place out and made it such a fun occasion.
It was quickly followed by a Brussels conference held by the Greek Presidency of the European Union, called ‘Averting Farmageddon: Sustainable food for all’. Significantly, the opening address was given by two national agriculture ministers (Greece and Cyprus), and was followed by the inspirational Oliver De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food; all three spoke clearly of the need for change. For me, it was the first of three conference appearances in Brussels. I was delighted to be a keynote amongst an array of speakers calling for a move away from industrial farming.
When writing Farmageddon with Sunday Times journalist, Isabel Oakeshott, I wanted to reach new audiences. It’s been pleasing then to be invited to speak at literary festivals across the country, including the Hay Festival of Literature – one of the largest and best known literature festivals in the world. It was great to be in front of a large audience there, talking with the London Mayor’s food advisor, Rosie Boycott, about the inside story behind Farmageddon. I also took part in a debate with National Farmers Union vice-president, Guy Smith.
At the York Festival of Ideas, I was pleased to share the stage with influential speakers such as Mike Coupe, the new CEO of Sainsbury’s and Professor Tim Benton a global food security champion. I took the opportunity to challenge the oxymoron, ‘sustainable intensification’ and discussed ideas directly with Charles Godfray, a government advisor and leading advocate of the term. I explained that we already live in a world of plenty; that the global food system already produces enough food for up to 14 billion people, but more than half is wasted. That needs to change. We need to move away from a wasteful obsession with increased production by industrial means and instead adopt a more sustainable future.
Other speaking events include Bristol’s Festival of Ideas and the Aye Write! Festival in Glasgow, at both of which, I had the pleasure of working with philosopher and writer Julian Baggini. Amongst other venues have been the Swindon Festival of Literature and in Brighton, I was in conversation with Green MP, Caroline Lucas, courtesy of New Writing South.
Farmageddon is about the global food system and how we can change it to ensure a future for people, planet and animals. So my travels have taken me well beyond the UK and Brussels. In April, we launched Farmageddon in South Africa with events in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
In May Farmageddon was launched in Canada with an event in Toronto, and, as with South Africa, I appeared on television speaking about the book – this time on the popular Lang & O’Leary Exchange on CBC.
It has been an incredibly busy few months and I’m delighted that Farmageddon has sparked so much debate.
Its message has resonated with many people; that hyper-industrial agriculture is destroying the countryside, damaging our health and the welfare of farmed animals and threatening the future sustainability of our food supply.
The good news is we can all do something to help; buying food from the land, pasture-fed, free range or organic; badgering MPs for a decent food system, and encouraging food companies to change. In this way, we can all help to avert Farmageddon and bring about a saner food world for animals, people and the planet.
Thank you for all your support.
Next steps on the Farmageddon tour:
25th June – Pittsburgh, USA: Carnegie Mellon University, Mellon Institute, 7.00-9.00pm
28th June – Washington DC, USA: Taking Action for Animals Conference
You can keep up to date with my speaking schedule here.
To get your copy of ‘Farmageddon: The true cost of cheap meat’, click here.