Post-fuel farming

A Farm for the Future is an excellent documentary (shown on BBC last month) by farmer-film maker Rebecca Hosking, on how farmers can overcome total dependence on fossil fuels.

It does a great job of explaining what the problem is with current farming methods, and what the fuel crisis will do to them and to our food supply, and how biodiversity, low-energy methods and good planning rather than back-breaking labour can increase food production enough to feed the world.

The picture’s pretty choppy in places (at least on my screen) but the sound is good, and the story it tells, of alternatives to fuel-heavy farming, and hope for a truly sustainable future of food production, is more encouraging than almost anything I’ve seen lately.

The solution offered is, of course, an English one, suited to an English climate. Cuba’s success story in dealing with a fuel-less agriculture is that of another small country with a different climate from our own. The bigger question is how large countries with more extreme climates – Canada, the US, Australia – and well-entrenched and protected industrial fuel-based agricultures can adapt to the loss of fuel.

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