3 July 2000
Carey calls for urban-rural unity

By FWi staff

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has called for greater unity between rural and urban communities in a speech which focused on the farming crisis.

George Carey made the plea during an open-air service held on the eve of the Royal Show, on Sunday (2 July) at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire.

Dr Carey told the congregation at the showground that the sense of rural isolation has been made much worse by the current crisis in agriculture.

“First BSE and then collapsing commodity prices have taken a terrible toll on the morale and well-being of farming families,” he said.

“We must develop a new community of shared understanding; a broader vision about agriculture and farming to bridge the chasms of isolation in our society.”

The archbishop said that town and country must come together to build a true community and avoid a divisive society riddled with arrogant self-interest.

“We cannot view the countryside simply as a green and pleasant theme park, nor can it be treated merely as agricultures factory floor,” he said.

The archbishop then turned his attention to the relationship between supermarket buyers and producers.

Immense power was being concentrated over farmers by supermarket chains who were largely unaccountable, he suggested.

“The priority cannot be cheap food at any price. It must be healthy food at price which is fair to producer and consumer alike.”

The archbishop called for “a new community of understanding” between consumers, producers, scientists and retailers as well as politicans.