The Online Oxford Real Food Conference: January 7-13

Author: John W. Head, KU School of Law

An online agroecology conference runs for one week starting January 7. Called the Oxford Real Food Conference, this conference includes speakers, panel discussions, and workshops. The full program can be found here.

I plan to participate in several of the events for this conference, as they relate closely to issues central to the Global RESTORATION Project (see the GRP website here). One workshop, for instance, carries this title: “Using COP26 to Build Momentum for Integrated and Just Food Policies that Support Nature, Climate and People” – with COP26 referring to the 26th Council of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (COP21, in late 2015, was the meeting that produced the Paris Climate accords.)

The close connection between agriculture and climate change warrants attention. By some estimates, roughly 13% of all greenhouse-gas emissions are directly related to agricultural production (including livestock), not including land-conversion activities (that is, the putting of further acres/hectares into foodcrop production). And the types of greenhouse gases emerging in the greatest quantities from agricultural operations – methane and nitrous oxide in particular – are typically much more potent than CO2 (carbon dioxide) emerging from the burning of fossil fuels for energy production, transportation, and the like.

Expressed differently: if a new Agricultural Revolution were mounted in order to break fossil-fuel dependency of staple crops, this would greatly contribute to the handling of the climate crisis. The kind of “Organic Restorative Agriculture” that lies at the heart of the Global RESTORATION Project therefore has at least a double impact: it can dramatically reduce soil degradation (leading to a restoration of the lithosphere) and contribute importantly to the fight against climate disruption (working to restore the atmosphere).

Other workshops and elements of the ORFC – January 7-13 – likewise will touch on themes and convey information that proponents of global restoration need to explore. Consider registering for the conference, which costs less than US$50.