Heaven and Earth:

Christianity, Food and Land Use


Ryton Organic Gardens, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Coventry

10.30 am to 4.30 pm.



Lord Beaumont of Whitley

Green Party Spokesman


Rt Rev John Oliver

Bishop of Hereford.

Jackie Gear

Executive Director of HDRA

Dr Edward Echlin

Theologian ... Organic Gardener


Alan Gear

Chief Executive of HDRA



The Conference is being held at the headquarters of  the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), the UK. s leading organic gardening organisation, which researches and promotes organic gardening, farming and food.

Ryton Organic Gardens are located five miles south east of Coventry off the A45, on the outskirts of the village of Wolston. We are arranging transport between Coventry railway station and Ryton Gardens. Travel details will be sent with confirmation of your booking.

With foot and mouth, and a crisis in the way our food is produced, how should Christians respond? Christian Ecology Link (CEL) is calling for radical reforms in response to the farming crisis and has developed the LOAF principles to describe its priorities for food:

Locally produced, Organically grown, Animal friendly, Fairly traded.

15 cost includes Conference fee, lunch and admittance to the Ryton organic display gardens. The Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), based at Ryton, is Britain's leading organic gardening organisation. See overleaf to book a place at the Conference and to choose workshops.

Booking is essential as space is limited.



Farming the Soil

John Neal (Chairman, Christian Rural Concern)

Farming in Crisis

Dr Peter Carruthers (Chairman, Agricultural Christian Fellowship)


John Seymour (Author, The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency)

Genetic Engineering, Threat or Benefit for the Countryside?

Rev Malcolm Carroll (Worker on social issues for a Church of England diocese & Greenpeace supporter)

Composting and Healthy Soil

(HDRA staff)

The Church Commissioners and Church of England Farmland

(An expert representative of the Church Commissioners)



The Workshops will run twice in the afternoon. Please indicate your preferences below on the Booking Form.

Farming the Soil : John Neal farms 100 acres, half of which is placed in the 20 year MAFF Habitat environmental scheme. The remaining land carries a small flock of sheep and arable crops farmed extensively. John is Chairman of Christian Rural Concern (CRuC). With Joy Gadsby he will ask what is demanded of the soil in modern intensive agriculture; see God's creativity in the soil's variety and ecosystems; and discuss farming for healthy soil through organic, extensive and mixed farming practices.

Farming in Crisis: Dr Peter Carruthers is Chairman of the Agricultural Christian Fellowship and Executive Director of the John Ray Initiative. He also works for the Research Branch of the Countryside Agency and serves on the committees of the Farm Crisis Network and the Agriculture and Theology Project.

Self-Sufficiency: John Seymour is author of many books, including the world-wide best seller, The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency. With his daughter Jane he will explore a partially self-sufficient lifestyle.

. Genetic Engineering, Threat or Benefit for the Countryside?. :

Rev Malcolm Carroll is a Baptist minister working in social responsibility for the Church of England in the Midlands. He is also a volunteer warden on a local nature reserve. He was one of the defendants in the Greenpeace GM crops trial.

. Composting and Healthy Soil. : A member of the HDRA staff will lead a workshop in the organic display gardens.

The Church Commissioners and Church of England Farmland.

Our current food system, from farm to fork, is increasingly questioned. A representative of the Church Commissioners will make a short presentation on their role and the many challenges and issues facing the Church of England as a major landowner. This will be followed by questions and open discussion.



10.00am Registration and Coffee.

10.30 am Conference opened by

Lord Beaumont of Whitley

(Green Party Spokesman in the House of Lords).

10.40 am Prayer, followed by three talks and discussion chaired by Alan Gear.

. Sleepwalking Towards the Precipice?.

Rt Rev John Oliver, Bishop of Hereford

(Church of England Environment Spokesman

in the House of Lords).

Response from Lord Beaumont

. Organic growing and the land.

Jackie Gear

(Executive Director of HDRA, The Organic Gardening Organisation).

. Earth Spirituality and Soil.

Dr Edward Echlin

(Author, Earth Spirituality, Jesus at the Centre, ecological theologian and organic gardener).


12.45 pm Lunch

Lunch is included in the cost of the Conference. There will be time to tour HDRA. s informative and attractive organic display gardens, browse in the HDRA shop, visit the stalls set up in the Conference Centre by various Christian organisations and buy at the SPCK bookstall.

1.55 pm Workshops . First Session.

3.00 pm Workshops . Second Session.

4.00 pm Final Plenary Discussion.

4.15 pm Service of Worship.

4.30 pm Conference ends.

Details: 01423-871616 or 0118 966 8352.



Agricultural Christian Fellowship, Animal Christian Concern, A Rocha International (Christians in Conservation), Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals, Baptist Union of Great Britain (Mission Department), Board for Social Responsibility of the Church of England, Catholic Study Circle for Animal Welfare, Christian Rural Concern, Columbans (Faith & Justice), Coventry & Warwickshire Spirituality Group, EcoCongregation/Going for Green, Environmental Issues Network of Churches Together in Britain & Ireland, Five Year Freeze, John Ray Initiative, Land Heritage, Newman Association, One World Week, Pax Christi, Soil Association, Student Christian Movement, United Reformed Church (Church & Society), Ushaw College.




All the tickets for this conference have now been sold. CEL is planning a Conference on 'Christians Consumption and Creation' for June/July 2002, in Sheffield.