Our 'Farming Futures’ conference for farmers and landowners located in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty took place at the end of October.
A full-house of ninety local farmers, land managers and advisory body representatives attended the successful afternoon event in Crowborough, which focused on ‘Regenerative Agriculture’, and was organised by the High Weald Partnership. This is a farming approach which enriches soils, stores carbon and mitigates climate change while working in tune with nature. The practices improve farm productivity and are low risk and sustainable.
The line-up of inspiring speakers included national farming pioneers: Graham Harvey, food and farming author and former agricultural story editor of ‘The Archers’; Stephen Briggs who operates a successful agro-forestry farming system; Charlie Burrell who advocates making space for nature through wilding; and Tim May who runs a diversified low-input farming system. The event was opened by long-term High Weald farmer, John Marland (pictured above).
Discussions focused on ways farming can create healthy soils and benefit the environment whilst building productive, profitable and resilient businesses in the mixed wooded and pastoral landscape of the High Weald. Local landowner, Edwina Moore, said:
“It was such a great event ... very good speakers who were all practising what they were talking about, and not just explaining a theory.”
Jason Lavender, Co-Director of the High Weald AONB Partnership, said:
“I am overjoyed so many farmers came to our event on regenerative agriculture – the first of its kind in the area. It was sold out which tells me two things. One, that a vibrant and resilient farming sector is vitally important and two, that interest in regenerative agriculture is growing and gaining a lot of momentum.”
The event was part of the High Weald AONB Partnership’s regular programme of events which aims to help land managers to look after the High Weald’s outstanding protected landscape in a sensitive way. After the success of this first event, we're planning to hold an annual ‘Farming Futures’ conference.