What will we eat as the oil runs out?

And how many of us will be able to find enough to eat at all?

Humanity’s present food production and distribution systems are heavily dependent on inputs of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, many experts think that world production of cheap, easily-produced oil will begin to decline within the next five years as the oilfields from which it comes are depleted. Natural gas production, so vital for the production of fertilisers, is expected to begin to decline by 2025 for exactly the same reason. So what will happen to food availability as a result?

A major international conference

Food Security in an Energy Scarce World

is being held in Dublin, Ireland between June 23rd and 25th to find out. It is organised by Feasta, the Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability,  in association with the Department of Environmental Resource Management at the Faculty of Agri-Food and the Environment, University College Dublin.

Speakers include:

Cait Curran – Market gardener and editor of Organic Matters magazine

Julian Darley – Founder of the Post Carbon Institute

Richard Douthwaite – Economist and author of The Growth Illusion and Short Circuit
John Feehan – Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Agri-Food and the Environment, UCD
David Flemming – Author of The Lean Economy: A Vision of Civility for a World in Trouble

Folke Gunther – Ph.D. student at the Department of Systems Ecology at Stockholm University
Anita Hayes – Founder of the Irish Seed Savers Association
Richard Heinberg – Author of Powerdown – Options and Actions for a Post-Carbon Future
Mae-Wan Ho – Director of the Institute of Science and Society
David Holmgren – Author of Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability
Seamus Hoyne – Managing Director of Tipperary Energy Agency
Seán McDonagh – Author of Patenting Life? Stop! and The Death of Life: The Horror of Extinction

Helena Norberg-Hodge – Founder of the International Society for Ecology and Culture

Deirdre O’Connor – Lecturer in Resource Economics, UCD
Jules Pretty – Director of the Centre for Environment and Society, University of Essex

Darrin Qualman – Director of Research, National Farmers Union of Canada

Bernard Rice – Head of Crop Production and Engineering Department, Teagasc

Wayne Roberts – Project coordinator of the Toronto Food Policy Council
Colin Sage – Lecturer at Department of Geography, University College Cork
Micheline Sheehy Skeffington – Head of Botany Department, NUI Galway
Lori Stahlbrand – Project Leader of the The Local Food Eco-label Project
Andre Viljoen – Architect and author of Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes
Full details and a booking form for the event can be downloaded from www.feasta.org/events/foodconf/food_conference.htm
Everyone booking before the end of May qualifies for an Early Bird discount of 20%. All the non-Dublin speakers and a lot of the other participants will be staying at Bewley’s Hotel, Leopardstown, where FEASTA has reserved a block of rooms. These are going fast so if you want to get one, contact the FEASTA office at +353 (0)1 4053615 or [email protected] for information. The room rate is 79 euro a night and a room will accommodate two people. Dublin hotels are heavily booked during the conference because of a pop concert so you might find it difficult to book elsewhere. A minibus will run participants between the hotel and the conference hall..