The Shashe block of farms, in the Maszinvgo province of central Zimbabwe, is home to 500 farming families. Together with the Zimbabwe Smallholder Organic Farmers Forum (ZIMSOFF)’s and Shashe Agroecology School, they have worked to revive arid cattle-ranching land into rich, abundant food forests.
The school trains farmers in agroecological farming techniques such as inter-cropping, water-harvesting and farmer-to-farmers exchanges but at the heart of their practice is a special emphasis on seed and food sovereignty and ecological production integrated with seasonal ceremonies and rituals. There is also a deep emphasis on farmer led solutions to socioeconomic, ecological and cultural issues, which has stimulated designing a methodology for holistic nurturing of landscapes at the Shashe block of farms.
Join farmers and the founders of the Shashe Agroecological School in Zimbabwe, as they put their new internet connection to the test!
Co-hosted by MVArc (Portugal) and the Woodland Trust (UK)
Already we are seeing the difference in our weather patterns from climate change. Integrating trees within the farming system can buffer extremes by providing shade for crops and livestock. In this session, we will hear from speakers from the UK, Spain and the USA about the role of trees in a hotter climate, including practical management considerations and benefits for both livestock and crops. Can you do something now which will allow you to plan ahead to make your farm more resilient?
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 500
How do we transition away from copper reliance in potato production? A look at the latest blight resistant potato varieties, a discussion on the barriers of getting these into the mainstream and how supermarkets could play a major role. How can we emulate the Netherlands covenant which transformed the organic potato sector?
Appealing to those interested in how we transition away from copper reliance in potato production, and building on research for Organic-PLUS, we consider how to phase out contentious inputs in organic agriculture.
We take a look at the latest blight resistant potato varieties from Agrico - how stacked gene resistance makes them even more robust and why farmers will benefit – and we hear from the RiSS group based in Scotland. They have been exploring how to improve resilience in the organic potato sector and potentially influence policy and the implications this could have on the whole of the UK.
We also discuss the barriers of getting blight resistant varieties into the mainstream and how major supermarkets can play a role in consumer acceptance and demand. We hear from Waitrose on how they hope to show leadership on this issue. How can we strive towards the transformation seen in the organic potato sector in the Netherlands?
Thanks to Organic-PLUS for funding this important research.
Abattoirs are the linchpins of local food and sustainable livestock systems, adding value to meat, serving local consumers, reducing distance to slaughter and producing traceable by-products. Organised by the Sustainable Food Trust, this session is chaired by CEO Patrick Holden who will outline the current situation in light of the Agriculture Bill, Covid and Brexit. The panel will then discuss what is needed to make small abattoirs sustainable for the future.
Beginning with Will Harris, owner of White Oak Pastures and home to one of America’s only on-farm slaughterhouses, we will explore how the problems facing small abattoirs are mirrored across the pond. He will talk about why slaughtering on farm, or as near to the farm as possible, is so important, and will share his knowledge of the best ways to achieve this.
Head of the Food Standards Agency Emily Miles will then speak about the situation in the UK and what is needed from a regulatory and governmental point of view to ensure the small abattoir sector can be resilient and thrive. She will talk about measures already being taken by the FSA and give insights to the impact of Brexit and COVID-19, looking to the future and what more can be done.
Marisa Heath from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare will share the work of the new small abattoir sector group, including work on waste, reducing distance to slaughter and how Government support could enable small abattoirs to thrive.
Finally, we will hear from Sara Grady and Alice Robinson about how to make small abattoirs sustainable from the ground up, through developing by-product markets. They are adding value to what has in recent years become a waste product for abattoirs - hides and skins - by developing leather that is fully traceable back to the farm.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 30 (Full)
Globally we are starting to see women step into roles traditionally held by men while staying true to their feminine values’. If so, what are these values? Moreover, does livestock farming, with its emphasis on the cycle of life - ie reproduction, birth, and the rearing of youngstock - require specific traits considered to be inherently ‘feminine’’? How are these balanced against the goal to achieve maximum yield and profit for the farm - objectives which could be considered more masculine?
Whole Health Agriculture has invited commercially successful female farmers to share their individual experiences before inviting the audience to participate in a series of fun and engaging exercises to explore the benefits of the feminine (and the masculine) in livestock farming.
Shumei Natural Agriculture regenerates the land, water and soil, and cultivates a renewed appreciation of traditional farming culture, which has been declining in Japan. Abandoned rice paddies have not only resulted in the loss of cultural and agricultural heritage, but also the rich biodiversity of the land.
In this session, Shumei will take audiences on a virtual tour of Natural Agriculture farms in Japan, where thousands of farmers are cultivating crops using natural seeds without any external inputs. The practice of Natural Agriculture preserves biodiversity and promotes seed saving. It is a way of life that encourages a deep respect for Nature and supports the Satoyama concept, which integrates harmony with Nature into land management of landscapes and seascapes.
This session will also show how the practice of Natural Agriculture contributes to the Ramsar Convention on Wetland Conservation to restore many endangered insects and animals, and how the next generation of farmers are being engaged through the interconnection between farming, sustainability and health.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 500
Join us for a practical workshop, sharing experience and knowledge on how to make the most of trees on farms. We explore design, tree choice and potential markets.
This is an opportunity for farmers and advisors to exchange ideas and experiences about which agroforestry practices have worked, or not, when planning and implement tree and shrub planting on farms.
Two short presentations from people who've started out in agroforestry introduce this session, with a 'what I learned the hard way' focus. Following this, a more in-depth workshop explores the issues in a Q&A format with the panellists. The exact content will be led by participants but, as well as fundamental decisions such as choosing trees and design for your farm, topics covered are likely to include fencing, weed control and crop/livestock interactions with trees.
The session is also an opportunity to highlight the work of our new Innovative Farmers agroforestry field lab, as well as the Fabulous Farmers Agroforestry Learning Networks.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 55
Are you a farmer, farm worker or grower? Do you believe there’s more we can collectively do, not just to produce great food, but also to nurture people, animals and the planet? Want to talk, share and listen? The Food Ethics Council is hosting a space for the farming community to share “what’s your beef?”, but also to identify the slivers of hope that have emerged from the pandemic.
Chaired by Helen Browning, farmer and Chief Executive of the Soil Association, in this workshop we will discuss the changes you are witnessing in farming, from the personal to the global. This will be a safe space to share concerns and reasons for optimism, so we can better support one other and navigate the path to a more sustainable future. At the start of a new era for farming, this is a chance to take stock of where we are (the stock could be beef, chicken or vegetable!) and the green shoots we can build on. The discussion will help guide the Food Ethics Council’s new three-year farming project. The path we take will be shaped by you.
Grasslands are an essential habitat. They are home to thousands of species, many of which are threatened and endangered. Grasslands also help to sequester carbon, reducing emissions,storing water and mitigating flood risk. Yet, many of our global grasslands have been destroyed. Decades of development, industrial agriculture or overgrazing have led to swathes of healthy, biodiverse grasslands being lost. Almost half of all temperate grasslands and 16 percent of tropical grasslands have been converted to agricultural or industrial uses and only one percent of the original tallgrass prairie exists today.
However, we can restore our grasslands. By valuing our species-rich grasslands and restoring them to health, we can help to stop our climate and ecological emergencies and create a more sustainable future for our planet. This panel discussion will look at the power and potential of grassland restoration with a focus on the importance of species-richness and biodiversity. Panellists will discuss restoration from a location-specific perspective, offering examples from around the globe and highlighting holistic management techniques.