Thoughtful Thursday: Sustainable Food Trust

In an effort to not reinvent the wheel, it makes much more sense to build upon the work that is already being done. This week, I stumbled upon the Sustainable Food Trust (, founded by Patrick Holden.

After a London upbringing, Patrick Holden trained in Biodynamic farming at Emerson College in Sussex. “We were a bunch of naïve hippies in the ‘70s when we started Holden Farm Dairy –now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales, ” says Holden on His 250 acre mixed hill farm is now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales, producing a raw milk cheddar style cheese from the milk of 70 Ayrshire dairy cows.

Holden served as Director of the Soil Association between 1995 and 2010. He is now Founding Director of the Sustainable Food Trust, which is working to promote increased international cooperation between those working in the field of sustainable agriculture.

I quote from a conference he spoke at:

Our post-war, industrialised, intensive farming systems have been harvesting the fertility of the soil and exploiting the earth’s capital which had been handed down to us, with enormously damaging consequences for sustainability, biodiversity and human health. We’ve been treating capital resources such as water, gas [oil], phosphates, as if they are inexhaustible when in fact they are all running out.

We’ve literally dismantled all of the wonderful latticework of local food systems and replaced them with highly centralised, efficient systems – except they’re not really efficient, because it takes 10 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce one calorie of energy we eat, in some cases. We are not aware of the fragility of our food systems.

The connection between spiritual practice and food had diminished in the 20th century. Material change without an inner spiritual drive or content is empty. If we could harness the collective power and influence of the world’s faith communities to lead the transition to a more sustainable agriculture, that would be enormously important. It’s the spiritual dimension which drives right action.

Here is his TED talk:


About Kaytlyn Dale

#nuffield13 scholar passionate about sacred agriculture and holding space for transforming ourselves so that we can help regenerate the land, soil, Earth and our food system. Pursuing an MA that brings spirituality and agriculture together in the conversation.
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