Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has played a critical role in feeding local communities during the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses and gaps in our global food production and distribution systems. In contrast, smaller more local farms and direct sales models are being celebrated as more resilient and veg box customer numbers soared in 2020.
Join this session to hear from CSA farmers in Europe and the global CSA movement Urgenci, about the different responses and approaches taken by CSAs throughout the pandemic. What has actually been happening on the ground? Has there been a boom in the CSA movement? There is growing recognition that family-scale farms using agroecological practices are an essential part of a system capable of providing healthy, nutritious food for all. It seems customers are hearing this message.
The importance of local, fresh, seasonal, healthy, sustainable food has gathered momentum, stimulated by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the need for food of high nutritional quality has yet to be widely recognised.
We are increasingly aware of the links between the heath of our soil and nutrient content of the food we produce. In this session, we will explore such questions as: Has the decline in soil fertility led to poor nutritional quality food? And what is the connection(if any) to the growing incidence of diet-related noncommunicable diseases? Will a shift to nature-friendly farming practices help produce nutrient dense food and help boost our gut microbiomes and general health?
This session will increase awareness of nutrient dense food, and showcase work from the Bionutrient Food Association and Newcastle University to improve transparency and prioritise nutritional quality in nature-friendly farming practices for better citizen health.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 100 (Full)
Subtle but powerful, this workshop addresses the inevitable next big step in the evolution of sustainable agriculture. Grounded in the indigenous worldviews and experiences of farmers and food gathers over millennia, it explores how we can reclaim our co-creative relationship with nature through working with subtle energies in non-physical realms.
Julia Wright will chair this workshop and provide an introductory overview based on the forthcoming publication on this subject. Farmer practitioner Richard Gantlett will then discuss his experiences, successes and challenges in implementing some of the techniques on his 530 ha mixed farm in Wiltshire, UK. Land whisperer Patrick MacManaway will then discuss and provide examples of how farm livestock and crops are sensitive to the subtle energies of place and typically show improved health, vitality, fertility and productivity when in an appropriately balanced energetic environment.
Participants will then be led in a simple, practical exercise, after which experiences will be discussed in break out groups and a final coming together for discussion and questions. Signposts will be provided for those wishing to take this further. Through developing these skills, we may become more connected with the sentience of and one-ness with nature, and thus move further toward a practice of care.
**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.
Being able to farm and to feed one’s family is fundamental to rebuilding the lives of rural people traumatised by conflict. For the physically disabled this was considered near impossible, but a new farming venture in Sierra Leone is changing that perception.
Already one of the world’s poorest countries, Sierra Leone was devastated by an eleven-year civil war in which tens of thousands of people died and many more thousands had limbs amputated. In 2014, it was also the epicentre of the deadly Ebola virus epidemic.
The Sierra Leone Amputee Sports Association (SLASA) brings together single-legged amputees in the belief that sport can support the recovery of this marginalized group. In early 2020, it also established a 10-acre permaculture farm, offering employment to some of these amputees. Already, crops are already being harvested and seed produced (thanks to advice from Garden Organic and Vital Seeds), and both are being distributed to local communities.
Elementary and junior high school children are also participating in school gardening and demonstration farms as part of a wider programme of education for sustainable development. It is clear that farming cannot only help to heal the soil but also the physical and mental damage to rural people resulting from conflict.
This session, chaired by John Meadley, who has worked in countries in conflict, will provide an opportunity to hear the Sierra Leone story directly from Pastor Mambud Samai, the founder of SLASA.
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.
A world of possibilities opens up when you forgo the hetero-normative binary. How can we transform agriculture and our food systems when we look at it through the lens of queer ecology and gender diversity? We’ll hear from food producers around the world who are challenging the heteronormative status quo, and, in doing so, are changing the way we think and interact with the natural world.
ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. LIMITED SPACES: 500
Designing wine farming to mimic healthy ecosystems has created resilience to the vagaries of climate change, labour shortages and continuous increases in costs of production. Holistically designed vineyards function primarily off of solar energy by using adaptive grazing during any season. Soils remain covered throughout the year, tillage is eliminated, biodiversity and soil carbon can significantly increase while tractor use (fossil fuels), labor, water and fertility inputs can be reduced. These systems encourage reciprocity to other lives and are fun to manage.
This session will cover the principles and practices for designing, creating and managing vineyards that mimic nature. Time will be spent examining economics, grazing practices, vine training systems, management benefits and challenges, increasing biodiversity, building soil/ecosystem health and sequestering carbon. We will also briefly discuss creating similar systems in orchards and vegetable crops.
In his talk, Tom Philpott will discuss his new book The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It, which argues that the US model of chemical-intensive, regionally concentrated agriculture is undermining the ecologies the two main places where it alights: the California Central Valley and the corn belt, centered around Iowa. He'll put the argument in a global context, explaining that the same set of transnational meat, grain-trading, and seed/pesticide companies that dominate US farming also are also prevalent in other global commodity-production nodes—Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine—placing farmers in a cutthroat competition that can only be won by the companies themselves, at the expense of these crucial ecologies and ultimately global food security.