On Monday evening Stroud Brewery hosted an evening with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, famous for his River Cottage television series and his cooking school of the same name, on the Devon and Dorset border.
Brewery owner Greg Pilley shares Hugh’s passion for organic produce, and the two men have collaborated on three types of River Cottage organic beer, produced by Stroud Brewery.
They sat down with Stroud Times to discuss the importance of organic food; Stroud Farmer’s Market, and also how their collaboration came about.
Hugh said: “Making food organically is incredibly important because it guarantees that a lot of things haven’t happened, and a lot of potentially difficult things haven’t occurred. Conventional farming, we know, uses a lot of pesticides, a lot of fertilisers that are fossil fuel based. And we know that there have been some really serious consequences for the environment and consequences of pollution and consequences of degrading the land and the soil.
“Organic farming sets out from first principles to do no harm to the environment, to work with what’s there to put goodness back into the soil. And there’s a good reason why the principal organic certification body in the UK is the Soil Association, because it all comes back to the soil. And in a world where high tech farming is looking for the next profit, the next way to boost productivity and relying on chemicals and fertilisers to do that, all those activities represent more risks to the planet, more risks to the environment.”
Greg added: “I think to emphasise that organic is a set of standards protected by law and it’s one of the only standards that are actually ingrained and enshrined in law. And because of that it is one of the most trusted brands for food, and it really provides a baseline. It’s like the floor of good practise for sustainable farming.”