Ways and means of improving food production in Britain and overseas against the background of high fuel prices and a growing demand for all land-based commodities will be discussed in Edinburgh Feb. 10 at a one-day conference organized by the Church of Scotland.

“This is the first conference on food sustainability that the Church of Scotland has organized,” the Rev. Ian Galloway, Convener of the Church and Society Council, told ENInews. “It will be attended by members of various church congregations, farmers, men and women involved in marketing, and it will be addressed by various speakers from Scotland’s farming community.

“Delegates will discuss the questions and facts behind sustainable agriculture at home and overseas and highlight what members of Christian congregations can do to contribute to this sustainability,” he said.

Food and agriculture is a subject of ongoing interest and importance in Scotland and globally. Conference organizers note that some Scottish farmers are facing real difficulties while huge subsidies are paid to others. In addition, they say, Scottish towns are witnessing the death of small shops and food outlets because of the spread of giant supermarkets throughout the U.K.

These issues persuaded the Church and Society Council to investigate the meaning of ‘sustainable agriculture’ in more detail. “The investigation is focused on Scotland but must take into account development elsewhere. In particular, the council is interested to explore the question, ‘What can congregations do?’“ Galloway said.

Galloway explained that one aim of the conference, to be held at the Church of Scotland’s head office, would be to develop a report with recommendations to the church’s General Assembly 2012.