The SFT’s Harmony in Food and Farming Conference last July, explored the ways in which the harmony principles, as outlined by HRH The Prince of Wales in his book Harmony: A new way of looking at our world, manifests in food and farming practice. The book reminds us that to make sense of the world in which we find ourselves, we should take account of the influence of these fundamental laws which lie behind everything we experience.
These laws are mathematical, and express themselves in nature: for instance, the Fibonacci sequence which informs aspects of the growth of plants; the mathematics of harmonic principles behind the musical scale; the golden ratio, which we can find everywhere and which Georgian architects used in designing the proportions of rooms, doors and windows in their buildings; the so-called ‘sacred geometry’ which enabled great Gothic cathedral builders to construct churches that influenced the state of those that visited them.
The conference touched on a multitude of themes beginning with the principles themselves and extending to the circular economy, the farm ecosystem, the integration of food production and nature conservation, the role of education, science and spirituality, harmony in farm architecture, and the role of faith communities in farming, to name but a few.
Building upon the success of the conference, the SFT hosted a Harmony in Food and Farming inspired session at this year’s Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) highlighting the importance of integrated thinking for the future of sustainable farming. Following an introduction by Patrick Holden, the session began with an insight into artisan cheese making from Bronwen Percival (cheese buyer at Neil’s Yard Dairy), who discussed how real cheese can connect farming with flavour, acting as an expression of the whole farm system.
Charlotte Russel (Head of Learning at the Eden Project) spoke of the transformative work of the Eden Project, turning it from a derelict, industrial landscape into one of beauty. The physical embodiment of this transformation provides visitors with the opportunity to witness the power of regeneration, inspiring and providing them with the skills to grow and manage land. Gaye Donaldson (Systemic Constellations Facilitator) discussed systemic discord and how it might be possible to unlock some of the barriers to change that are preventing significant progress within our current farming system. Finally, Guy Hayward and Will Parsons (founders of the British Pilgrimage Trust) explained the significance of spiritual pilgrimage as a way of re-connecting with nature and getting ‘back to the land’ – land which, lest we forget, provides natural resources crucial to the entire farming endeavour.
Watch the session in full here
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