Throwing insults to spread the message

I was in Birmingham today,  the (current) home of Cadbury’s chocolate, one of my favourite modern buildings in the country:

Bullring

and the location of this year’s Soil Association conference.

There’s been a few articles in the press over the past few days accusing the organic lobby of being elitist and expensive, so to counter the claim the Soil Association spared no expense and made us gather in a pig shed beneath some railway arches.

Conference centre

Despite the crummy location it was an interesting day (sitting on the floor of a nearby cinema to use its wireless internet to file stories added to the interest), which I can’t often say about industry conferences.

While some of it was preaching to the converted – and it’s always a big yawn to hear politicians agreeing with each other – the debate between NFU president Peter Kendall, Cambridgeshire gob Oliver Walston and Patrick Holden from the Soil Association was bloomin’ brilliant.

Only Oliver could come out with the line: “I use fertiliser on my farm, but Patrick uses bullsh*t”, call everyone in the shed “nutcases” and expect to leave without being belted ’round the head with an organically-grown leek.

Gob of the Wash reckons Oliver should play Widow Twanky in a panto, but he’s doing a much better job playing a baddie – and the organic bunch loved everything he said. Interestingly though,  my Tweets about Oliver’s lines got retweeted the most by the non-organic lot, as well as by non-farming types too.

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