Last week, Agricology hosted a press conference, led by three farmers – Phil Jarvis, Richard Smith and Ian Wilkinson who were demonstrating how they put agroecology into practice on their farms – to build resilience to an increasingly variable climate and the role of Agricology in supporting farmers.
The video of the press conference can be found here with presentations followed by a Q&A
The rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 is necessitating huge shifts in how people communicate and connect with one another. It also enhances the risk of social isolation, an issue already of great concern in the farming community. We know how good the farming world are at uniting in adversity, but this requires a different approach. So, are farmers going stir crazy in the tractor cab and the lambing barn? For many it will not be much different to business as usual. However, a few weeks down the line, will farmers be longing for an opportunity to go to the County Show, the Cereals conference, Groundswell, NOCC, or visit another farm, in an annual scout for inspiration, innovation and a connection to the wider industry? We face weeks if not months without the conviviality of these events.
Agricology offers isolating farmers the opportunity to connect with other farmers and researchers to learn more about making their farming systems more sustainable and resilient. This free online resource allows farmers and researchers to share their knowledge and experiences so others can learn from their successes and mistakes as they transition to more sustainable farming systems.
As events across the country are cancelled and postponed Agricology will work with our partners to take farm walks, shows, conferences and meetings into the digital world. Bringing together farmers, researchers and advisors in conversation – on webinars, videos and podcasts. This will include a series of ‘virtual field days’ focused on different practices and themes over the coming months. All manner of discussion over soil pits, herbal leys, tilling techniques and cover crops are heading into the ether! These events will be run in partnership with organisations including, but not limited to: Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE), the Farm & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Duchy College, Rothamsted Research, The University of Reading, The Organic Research Centre (ORC), Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) and the National Institute of Agriculture and Botany (NIAB).
Agricology is a collaboration of key industry organisations including research, advice and farmer networks. Agricology was formed to bring together the latest knowledge and experience on practical, sustainable farming across the sector to make it more accessible for the farming community. In March, a vital Steering Group conference call brought 25 Agricology partners together to consider a united solution and enable virtual alternatives in light of social distancing. While COVID-19 is a current threat, other challenges are still ever present such as the hangover from unprecedented rainfall over the last six months. Agricology will help equip farmers with tools to make their farms more resilient.
In the four years since Agricology was formed, a wealth of digital information for farmers has already
been compiled including nearly 300 YouTube videos, podcasts, and a range of digital resources
across the entire spectrum of agroecological practices, from over 120 contributory institutions, in
addition to active discussions on social media @agricology.
In May, Agricology is due to start an Environmental Land Management Scheme Test, with the
University of Reading, to research the effectiveness of video and podcast in farmer knowledge
exchange, such is the appetite by Defra to understand what digital mechanisms will encourage
farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices.
Agricology welcomes farmers and organisations to share their plans for virtual events, videos and
podcasts to share with the farming community. Get in touch on enquiries (at) agricology.co.uk
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