On Monday evening, Stroud Brewery hosted an evening with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, famous for his River Cottage TV series and his namesake cookery school, on the Devon and Dorset border.
Brewery owner Greg Pilley shares Hugh’s passion for organic produce, and the pair have collaborated on three types of organic River Cottage beer, produced by Stroud Brewery.
They sat down with Stroud’s hours discuss the importance of organic foods; Stroud Farmer’s Market, and also how their collaboration came about.
Hugh said: “Making food organically is hugely important because it ensures a lot of things haven’t happened and a lot of potentially difficult things haven’t happened. Conventional farming, we know, uses a lot of pesticides, lots of fossil fuel-based fertilizers, and we know that there have been really serious environmental consequences and consequences of pollution and consequences of land and soil degradation.
“Organic farming starts from the first principles of not harming the environment, of working with what is there to restore good to the soil. And there’s a good reason the main 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 agriculture seeks the next profit, the next way to increase productivity, and relies on chemicals and fertilizers to do so, all of these activities pose more risk to the planet, more risk to the environment.
Greg added: “I think I’m pointing out that organic is a set of standards protected by law and it’s one of the only standards that is actually rooted and enshrined in law. And because of that, it’s one of the most trusted food brands out there, and it really does provide a baseline. It’s like the foundation of good practices for sustainable agriculture.