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Just days after the hullabaloo of his son William's wedding, Prince Charles delivered a rousing speech on the evils of industrial agriculture in Washington this morning - instantly turning himself into a new icon in the battle over modern agriculture and its impact on the environment, human health and animal welfare.
Speaking at the Washington Post's "Future of Food" conference, the Prince called the large-scale, non-local, chemical-intensive, oil-shackled system of food production "no longer as viable as it once appeared to be," earning him hero status among the assembled sustainable food advocates. In a tweet, Grist's Tom Philpott called him a "lucid big picture thinker." (That's one indication, at least, that Charles may have better luck with this endeavor than he did with his ill-fated critique of modern architecture).
His Royal Highness has been a champion for sustainable agriculture for many years, but this is his first major speech on the subject in the U.S. Citing his concern for future generations, Charles argued for food systems more in sync with nature:
Soil is the foundation of world civilization, the health of nations .But soils are being depleted, demand for water is growing ever more voracious and the entire system is at the mercy of an increasingly fluctuating price of oil In some cases, we are pushing nature's life support systems so far they are struggling to cope with what we ask of them If we do not work within nature's system, then nature can not be the sustaining force she has been.