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Page last updated at 16:46 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010
How self-sufficient could Guernsey be?
Guernsey cows
Guernsey cows could form a major part of a self sufficient island

Guernsey has been known throughout history as a place for growing. From tomatoes to freesias, it was famous.

By 2010, though, much of Guernsey's growing and farming industry had declined.

Patrick Holden, director of the Soil Association, said this could cause problems for the island in the future.

He asked, "How resilient would Guernsey be if supplies were interrupted?" He said much of the island's staple crops could be grown here with planning.

He explained: "Experts are predicting that there could be a global food security crisis in the next 10 to 15 years... it will be one of the key issues of the 21st century."

Could Guernsey be self sufficient

From his time in the island, Patrick was of the opinion that Guernsey was already self-sufficient in terms of dairy produce, "but needs to expand it to vegetables, salads, fruit and meat".

Guernsey's meat production was something that he highlighted in particular as he explained the island could produce enough beef a year to feed 5000 people just from the dairy cows in the island.

He pointed out that currently this is wasted as the island does not have a suitable abattoir and he said that with "a bit of vision and forward planning" the island "could be much more self-sufficient" in terms of meat production.

As well as providing more self-sufficiency in case of crisis Patrick noted that sustainable farming could cost less in the long term and "can be quality of life enhancing".

Patrick Holden CBE, director of the Soil Association
Patrick Holden said Guernsey needs a strategic food plan

He added that youngsters in Guernsey are "already taking on the mantle " of sustainability and seem to have a very developed understanding of it.

The meeting at which he spoke during his visit attracted around 100 people and he said there was "a great deal of excitement" among those in attendance for his thoughts.

He said, "Guernsey needs a strategic food plan", and that this was something islanders could help force into being: "Each of us can make a difference and eventually politicians will have to act."


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