Spent today at New Zealand House thanks to the courtesy of the NZ High Commissioner. NZ House is a very large building and we were located on the top floor with magnificent views over London. This photo is taken with some of the statues in Trafalgar Square.
Big Ben in the background. Had an address from a senior policy team member from the Soil Association. This organization oversees organic farming practices and product certification. They also try to influence policies on health food practices including introducing healthy food systems to schools and hospitals, and campaign against the use of GMs and pesticides etc. The main message from this address was: Healthy soils - healthy people - healthy planet.
Our next presentation was on what drives change in food and farming practices. This was an interesting discussion which covered influences of modern day challenges to farming like environmental concerns, resource scarcity, food sovereignty, super-supermarket retailers, GMs and the organic debate, government policy and trade issues.
A representative from ANZ Bank gave an update on the global and European financial situation. We were then addressed by a NZ Trade Commissioner together with reps from Australia, USA and UK delegations who gave overviews of the workings of the World Trade Organization and Free Trade Agreement process.
I now have a better appreciation of how difficult some of these negotiations are and why there are long periods of stand-offs between countries before agreements are made.
We had evening drinks at the top of New Zealand House overlooking the lights of London and were fortunate when the Nuffield Patron H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester could join us. He addressed the 2012 scholars in an inspriational talk and challenged us to become better farmers. He applauded our efforts in getting out to see other farms in order to achieve this goal.