John Gossop, author of Famine in the West and www.peakfood.co.uk attended LAMMA recently as the guest of Nationwide Diamond Concrete. During the first day of the show he spoke to many farmers about peakfood and the future threats to food production. Copies of his book were sold at a special show price of £5.99 .
John Gossop, author of Famine in the West and www.peakfood.co.uk is to attend LAMMA, the UK’s biggest static machinery show in Newark and Nottingham Showground, Winthorpe, Newark NG24 2NY this Wednesday and Thursday.
During the two day event visitors can talk to John at Nationwide Concrete Flooring’s outdoor stand B74 and if they wish buy his book at a discounted price. Also present will be Jon Wilcox, Nationwide Concrete Floorings’s sales manager together with some of their concrete plant and machinery.
The company will be running a free competition with a cash prize of £100.
Today the Yorkshire Post printed the article below about Peak Food author, John Gossop.
Modernisation is the key to sustainability in farming
Published Date: 28 February 2009
FARMERS must modernise their methods to contend with the twin threats of climate change and depleted fossil fuel supplies, a leading Yorkshire campaigner has warned.
In more than 40 years as a farmer in the East Riding, John Gossop has seen the industry respond to a wide range of difficult challenges.
But he considers global warming and farming’s reliance on non-renewable energy to be the greatest problems yet, and has written a book and several articles to illustrate how severe their combined impact may be.
Farmers and academics have turned to Mr Gossop’s book Famine in the West and Peakfood website for his views on how the industry will look in the future.
Now his theories are likely to reach an even wider audience after he was nominated for the Climate Change category in the inaugural Yorkshire Post Environment Awards.
The award category recognises those who show innovative, imaginative and strategic thinking in tackling or adapting to climate change.
Mr Gossop, of Swinefleet, near Goole, said: “With climate change, one of the worries is it is going to make production less reliable.
“The other thing is farming itself and the food production system is dependent on the fuels that are causing the greenhouse gas problem. We are going to have to come up with a better way of using solar energy.”
Mr Gossop believes the industry could help protect the environment by embracing changes to the conventional system of farming.
Current farming practices for these crops involve using a combine harvester to separate the seed from the stem in the field.
The seed is dried using fossil energy so that it can be stored safely in bulk, while the straw is either chopped and incorporated into the soil or baled and transported for animal bedding.
Mr Gossop said: “The present system has revolved around cheap fossil fuels but, some time in the future, if fuel becomes more expensive and scarce then food itself will become more expensive and scarce.
“We need to have a farming system that makes use of the whole crop in a sustainable way. We are so wasteful in everything that we do. If we are going to continue to support a world population using so much fossil fuels, the system must change.
“I would take the crop to a biorefinery or a processing plant which extracts all the energy from the food.
“There is as much energy in the straw as there is in the seed; by collecting the straw as well and possibly turning that into cellulosic ethanol, we would be producing enough energy to ensure the farming is self-sufficient.
“In the past we have not had to worry that we are wasting so much energy, but the system that we are proposing is about trying to get around that.
“We want to fuel farming from its own resources – as it always was.”
For more information about the Yorkshire Post Environment Awards see www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/environmentawards
WRIGHTS REGISTER ARTICLE FARMING IN THE GREENHOUSE JUNE 08
This month Wrights Register have printed an article by Peak Food entitled, Farming in the Greenhouse on their climate change page (p16):
It isn’t surprising that so many people are still skeptical of climate change in spite of overwhelming evidence that proves warming is happening. Denial is after all a well-understood psychiatric term meaning defence mechanism against painful thoughts, and this is exactly what makes people discount all evidence to the contrary, however compelling.
Some of us choose to believe that serious climate change is not happening because the consequences are just too appalling to contemplate. Tackling it would lower our standard of living in the short-term, and who wants to give up their 4 x 4 and holidays abroad?
Many people though can recall a specific television report or newspaper article that changed their thinking. My own moment of acceptance came when I realised that the natural greenhouse effect (which has been understood and accepted for many years) has made the world warmer, and that without the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, life as we know it would not be possible. Greenhouse gases trap heat energy, reducing the amount that is radiated from the earth back into space, acting as a partial blanket and causing a difference of about 21C between the average temperature that we would have and the actual average of the earth surface temperature. By increasing the concentration of GHGs in the atmosphere we are enhancing the greenhouse effect. The earth is responding just as we should expect it to by warming up.
So, what will global warming mean to farmers like you and me? Well, weather patterns changing relatively quickly will be very difficult for us to deal with. Except where reliable irrigation is available, the biggest constraint on crop yield is lack of soil moisture at critical times. Farmers plant the type of crops that suit their soil and normal weather, but if the rain does not fall at the right time or is insufficient, the yield can be slashed. Of course to some extend lower yields will be offset by rises in food prices, but this shouldn’t make us complacent.
At the same time as our climate is changing we will be affected by a host of worldwide problems including a rapidly increasing population, a greater demand in Asia for the diet and lifestyle we take for granted, and competition for land from biofuels and the building of new cities and roads.
On top of this there will be oil and gas shortages to deal with. And again, before you dismiss this as far into the future, remember that both oil and gas are finite resources and many analysts believe production has already peaked. It is only a matter of time before fertilisers and diesel become more expensive.
With world carry-over grain stocks at dangerous levels, we badly need a series of good harvests to avoid the panic, hoarding and speculation that would happen if we have a series of bad ones caused by changes in weather patterns. Governments seem to have no idea of what is on the horizon, or they would be making food production and the rebuilding of grain stocks the priority it should be.
Our thanks go to Janet Richardson for printing it. What do you think?
Yesterday the Goole Times printed an interview with John Gossop, author of www.peakfood.co.uk and Famine in the West.
This is the full article:
Farmer becomes famine author
A farmer from Swinefleet Common has called upon his literary skills to help him in a bid to warn the public that the West could face a famine as a secure future for food provision looks uncertain.
John Gossop (62) is normally known for selling potatoes, carrots and onions by the bag, but recently turned his hand to writing by penning the book Famine in the West, after fears that there could soon be food shortages.
John said: “My book describes how farming became dependent on oil and gas, gives more detail on the many threats to security, and lists the actions I feel need to be taken immediately.
“Lots of people have noticed food prices are rising, but this is nothing compared to what lies ahead.”
According to John, if next year’s harvests are poor (perhaps because of severe drought or other extreme weather) prices are going to rise further, perhaps leading to food shortages even in the West.
“This is because world carry-over stocks are dangerously low and world population is rocketing at a time when oil and gas reserves are falling,” added John.
“Basically we are going to have less energy to make food, but more people to feed.”
John added that most of the land that is suitable is already used for crops of some kind. We are losing 25 million acres of agricultural land each year through the building of new cities, roads and industrial infrastructure, and through desertification and soil erosion.
Many more millions of acres of land that was previously used to grow food is now used to produce renewable fuels such as ethanol or bio diesel.
To order your copy of Famine in the West, priced at £6.49 + £1.49 postage and packing contact 01430 410521. The first two Goole Times readers to quote “Goole Times” when ordering a copy can collect a free four-stone bag of mixed potatoes, carrots and onions from John’s farm and will not pay for the book’s postage.