The Need to Grow Discussion

We were delighted to see so many people at our online meeting to discuss regenerative farming and rewilding last Monday. We had 2 excellent guest speakers in:

Dagan James of Broughton Water Buffalo Farm, here in Hampshire. This is very much a rewilding success story. He has not just turned round his own farm but inspired his neighbouring farmer as well.

And:

Ian Wilkinson founder of Farm-Ed, the Farm and Food Education centre based in The Cotswolds. Whose mission is to speed up the transition towards regenerative farming and sustainable food systems by providing access to their demonstration farm, their knowledge and research, while feeding their guests delicious meals of produce from their own kitchen garden.

Our speakers’ contributions were inspiring and much appreciated by all, although it was always going to be impossible to do more than scratch the surface of this incredibly complex subject in just 90 minutes.

That said we came away with a greater understanding of the need for regenerative farming, to return our agricultural soil to health and restore its ability to store carbon. The role of livestock in this process was more significant than many of us had realized and the need for a return to mixed farming came over loud and clear, as an insurance policy against losing an entire monocrop in a badly timed extreme weather event.

One of the questions posed near the end of the evening was “what can we do here in the Alton area to support the transition to regenerative farming?”

Suggestions that came out of that included:

  1. Check out ALFI’s (Alton Local Food Initiative) Local Food Directory available from their web site. This is a list of 40 outlets for locally produced food and drink including vegetable box schemes, shops, market stalls and farm shops.
  2. Support our local farmers such as Mill Farm Organic in Isington (near Bentley), they rear their own cattle, sheep and pigs and have the Pasture for Life accreditation.
  3. Make a point of asking about the provenance of food when out shopping and also at restaurants (remember those?).
  4. Promote the importance of changing to a much more plant-based diet with less but better meat.

For a fuller report see the piece on our Newsletters page.