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Prince Charles Speaks of Environmentally Sustainable and Organic Farming in Washington Tour

Dozens of American students came out in the cold rain at Georgetown University to welcome Prince Charles on the second day of his Washington Tour on 4th May 2011. At the University, Prince Charles gave a 40 minute speech about one of his particular passions, environmentally friendly sustainable farming, at The Future of Food Conference.

He began his talk to delegates by joking that it made a change from making embarassing speeches about his eldest son during wedding receptions! Inside reports say thay Charles gently joked about William's balding patch of hair during William and Catherine's wedding reception just a few days earlier. He had given much praise to Catherine during that speech too, saying that he and Camilla were really lucky to have a daughter-in-law like her. The day after the wedding, having chatted with many of the 650 guests at the reception, Charles had told Royal fan Andrew Mosley at Stratford-upon-Avon's Royal Shakespeare Theatre that he had lost his voice after the wedding party. Luckily it was only a temporary loss for the 62 year old Prince though, and he was in fine shape for this his address to the good people of Georgetown.

Charles, who runs an organic farm on his Highgrove estate, producing a range called Duchy Originals whose profits are donated to his charities, spoke of the necessity to secure future food production whilst also taking care of the planet. He denounced modern pesticides and chemicals which used in mass food production, asking why industrialized systems dependent on chemical treatments and fossil fuels is promoted as viable whereas far less damaging methods are condemned as being rubbish ideas.

He spoke of how soil in the USA is being washed away at a rate 10 times faster than the planet can replace it, and this is occuring 40 times quicker in India and China. One quarter of the world's farmland is degraded, totaling of 22 billion acres, and 22,000 square miles of what was arable land is becoming desert each year. With global population increasng by 219,000 each day, yet one acre of land in the USA becoming lost to development each minute, more sustainable methods of farming are vital.

He spoke out against the current farm subsidy systems. An International Sustainability Unit set up in 2010 by the Prince has indicated that current subsidies are set up in such ways that favour large scale agriultural methods, meaning that farmers are better off using intensive farming practises. The public are then unable to buy much sustainably produced organic food because of the price. He asked if it would be beneficial if a new method of subisidies could be used which favours farms which are trying to do the right thing with less polluting and more sustainable methods of agriculture.

The prince told of a report using evidence from over 400 scientists worldwide which concluded that small family farms using ecological methods were among the most productive in developing countries. He said that smallholder farming has a central role and that nature needs to be put back at the heart of the equation.

At the end of his empassioned speech the audience rose to ther feet clapping at the end of his empassioned speech. US citizens who heard the speech said that Prince Charles was doing wonderful things in respect of the sustainability of food in the UK, and they were glad he is bringing those wonderful ideas to the United States of America, and that it was "an interesting way to look at globalisation".