**Many apologies, this session has now been cancelled due to ill health.**
Richard Perkins is an innovative farmer, educator and the author of the widely acclaimed manual Regenerative Agriculture. He is also the co-owner of Ridgedale Farm in Sweden where he teaches farm-scale permaculture. His blogs have been viewed more than 9 million times and he has over 100,000 Youtube subscribers for his live trainings and online courses.
Richard spent 2020, talking with past students across Europe in his Farm Like a Hero series.
Having dedicated his career to demonstrating effective and replicable models for small-scale regenerative farming, Richard will reflect and discuss the trends, models and business approaches that are creating success for so many new farmers all across Europe. He says there’s never been a better time to grow food!
A great opportunity to join Richard live and put your questions directly to him.
Competition for land and water around the world is growing due to surging global demand for minerals and metals critical to transitions in the energy, industry and military sectors. Mining corporations and states are on a collision course with their own citizens, and with farming and fishing communities in particular.
In this session we will hear from community representatives on the frontlines of struggles in Finland, Colombia and Ireland to prevent mining from destroying the ecosystems that form our life support system and provide the food we eat. We will hear how they have won victories against the odds, and the life-sustaining alternatives to mining they are protecting.
The IALAs (Instituto Agroecológico Latinoaméricano, or Latin American Institute of Agroecology) are a process led by La Via Campesina to train young people from social movement organizations in agroecology. Agroecology is the farming model that rescues peasant and indigenous culture, ensures the construction of food sovereignty, and the only model that can cool the planet in a time of climate disaster.
In this talk, we will hear about the history of the constructions of the IALAs at the Latin American level and the methodology of formation. We will then hear specifically about the experience of IALA Ixim Ulew (Ixim Ulew meaning “land of corn” in Maya Quiche), the IALA for youth from the Mesoamerican region with central farm-campus in Santo Tomás, Chontales, Nicaragua.
Smallholder farmers in the global south represent some of the world’s most financially underserved communities. Often these farmers struggle to balance subsistence farming with the desire to invest in cash crops that would allow for increased income. By contrast, institutional and other private ethical, social and impact investors find it difficult to identify and support investment-ready smallholder farmer pipelines, primarily using private debt and private equity. Consequently, the tendency has been to invest in mid-sized and large operations. Are the capital markets well-positioned to support small agroecology enterprises? How can the responsible investment community work with local stakeholders to develop and support pipelines of agroecological partners?
The discovery of bacteria as a cause of disease ushered in a 'sterile' era - giving us a century in which medicine and agriculture killed off germs, insects, weeds, and other perceived pests in hopes of improving life, without understanding that all living systems are nested, and that we cannot kill off parts of the biological workforce without threatening the whole. This 'get rid of bad things' approach now sneaks in everywhere, even with the best intentions: for example seeing/selling soil carbon as a way of getting rid of atmospheric carbon.
Can we embrace a more "fertile" paradigm of care for our inner and outer landscapes? Didi Pershouse, author of The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities will show how climate cooling is a biological dance, how the hidden biological economy enfolds our own, how the sterile paradigm took hold of our fears and imaginations, and how people can learn to work in fertile collaboration with other species - and with each other.
Regenerative food systems expert, Javier Carrera, shares with us the strategies of a long struggle to protect ancestral maize in Ecuador, along with the cultural practices related to this special plant. He will talk about what maize is in Ecuador and why it is so important and share lessons to transform organic maize systems worldwide.
Javier has been fascinated by maize for as long as he can remember, partly because it has so many different types and uses: canguil, mote, cau, choclo, morocho, tostado, chulpi, chicha, humita, chuchuca, tortilla, champús. And so many different colours, forms, sizes, textures and flavors. He says the genetics of maize are so similar to ours in many ways and there have been so many stories, cultural practices, folk songs, rituals, recipes written about maize.
“I totally understand when people say ‘we are people of maize. Our bodies and souls are made of it.”
But out of the 300+ maize varieties listed by national researchers in the 1960’s in Ecuador, Javier’s network of seed guardians, Social en la Red de Guardianes de Semillas, has only been able to find only around 50. The rest of them are gone. Probably forever. Who were they? What were their names, stories, flavors, colours?
Around the world livestock farmers face challenges from infectious disease, parasites and various stress related issues. Meanwhile, globally, efficacy of antibiotics and other veterinary pharmaceuticals is breaking down, threatening human health as well as livestock and planetary health. While many agri-industry and research organisations are turning to, and trusting, genetic engineering and biotechnology for a solution, more ecologically and biologically sound alternatives are not getting the attention they deserve – in terms of both prevention and treatment of disease. Many effective holistic approaches can be found throughout the world but are rarely documented, evaluated and promoted. This session will present and discuss evidence, veterinary advice, farmer experience and offer practical nonconventional solutions to livestock health problems.
Our food system is central to the most critical issues of our time. Not only is food the one thing that we produce that everyone, everywhere, needs every day, but its production – as well as its consumption – connects us intimately with the natural world. But the globalised food system has separated us from the sources of our food, thereby severing the land-based relationships that informed our species’ entire evolution. This system has become the biggest contributor to climate chaos and ecocide, as well as to the ill-health of humanity.
But if food lies at the centre of the problem, it is also central to the solution. By transforming our food systems – by transitioning away from large-scale, industrial monocultures for centralised markets, towards diversified, smaller-scale place-based food production – we really can maximise productivity and feed the world, while simultaneously minimising resource use, healing ecosystems, and increasing the number of livelihoods. Recognising this truth is the doorway into a new paradigm, one that empowers us to support human flourishing even as we begin to solve our ecological crises at their systemic root cause.
We are witnessing the increasing financialisation of land and territories as land and natural resources are sold off to financial actors such as banks, pension funds, and insurance companies. These actors often make use of complex investment webs involving any number of intermediaries, brokers, tax avoidance loopholes and off-shore schemes. All of these are attempts to distance themselves from public scrutiny, regulation, taxation and accountability. This is hugely disempowering for communities as it means that decisions are taken about land that are distant, undemocratic and hidden.
And agricultural land is by no means protected. And whether the new owners have purely financial motivations or have some interest in what the land offers (biomass, commodity sales), the outcome is the same: investors acquiring shares prioritise profitability, relegating agricultural production together with its social functions and its environmental objectives to a secondary place.
This session seeks to address the following questions:
To what extent is financialisation happening in Europe?
What are the consequences in terms of transparency of land ownership, the flouting of regulations, the impact on farmers' independence, and impact on farm succession?
How may we combat the financialisation of land sales?