Moving towards farming systems that harness ecological processes to maintain productive agriculture whilst also building resilience, efficiency, and regenerating the farm environment is a constant learning process. www.agricology.co.uk is a hub for farmers and researchers to share the latest innovations and experiences of putting agroecology into practice. We chat with some of the movers and shakers in the fields, labs and food supply chains; focusing in on different sustainable farming practices in ‘Agroecology in focus’ and speaking with innovating farmers ‘In the field.’
Three Hagges Woodmeadow - Agroforestry combining woodland & meadows
48:48This episode features our visit to Three Hagges where we were shown around by Woodmeadow officer Dan Carne & one of the founders Ros Forbes Adam. They talk about what a woodmeadow is, potential relevance to farmers, layout of the site, how it was created & is now managed, tips for farmers interested in putting some land over to a combination of woodland & meadow, & thoughts about wider scale adoption of woodmeadows & agroforestry. It is produced as part of 'A National Network of Agroforestry Farms' project. View accompanying notes & site photographs here.
Bill & Cath Grayson - Agroforestry & Conservation Grazing
1:08:50Organic livestock farmers Bill & Cath Grayson run the Morecambe Bay Conservation Grazing Company. They practice conservation grazing on semi-natural habitats of woodland & limestone grassland scrub which can be described in agroforestry terms as wood pasture. Our editor talks to them about what they do, how they came to do it, benefits & challenges they’ve encountered & thoughts on wider scale adoption of agroforestry. The episode is produced as part of 'A National Network of Agroforestry Farms' project. View the farmer profile for Bill & Cath Grayson here.
Agroecology in Focus - Biofumigation
52:55In this episode we explore the science and practice of biofumigation - the use of a temporary brassica (mustard) cover crop to help manage soil pathogens and weeds. Katie Bliss introduces footage from a webinar which features researcher Dr Matthew Back (Harper Adams University) and Alec Roberts (Tozer Seeds) in a lively discussion with a group of growers innovating with enhancing diversity in protected cropping as part of the DiverIMPACTS project.
Agricology in the Field - Mike Mallett
1:16:40Mike Mallett is farm manager of Maple Farm Kelsale, a 138-hectare organic farm in Suffolk which is mostly arable with some permanent pasture, woodland, horticulture & laying hens. He talks about regenerative agriculture, beneficial weeds, intercropping, the extensive agroforestry on the farm & providing for the hens’ health & welfare, with some fascinating insights; from breed selection to innovations in feed supply & his involvement in OK-Net Ecofeed. View the full farmer profile on the Agricology website.
Know Your Soils and Know Your Sales
1:10:44In this episode we hear from organic mixed min till farmer John Pawsey & arable conservation ag no-till farmer Clive Bailye in featured footage from an online event ‘Know your soils and know your sales’ that took place in July 2020 as part of OF&G’s NOCC, with support from the AHDB. Renowned broadcaster Charlotte Smith leads the conversation which focuses on their approaches & practices they deploy that equip their farming businesses with resilience in light of the many environmental & economic challenges.
Farm system health - Richard Gantlett
42:12Richard farms beef cattle & cereals biodynamically at Yatesbury House Farm in Wiltshire UK. In this episode we talk to him about his involvement in the Farm System Health project; which brought together international farmers who have established personal philosophies & strategies of best practice that make them successful in running healthy farms & producing healthy food. Richard reflects on exploring health principles with the farmers & how these principles are embedded in his farming practices & approach.
Farm System Health - Iain Tolhurst (Tolly)
33:00Iain Tolhurst runs one of the longest running stock-free organic vegetable farms in England. In this episode we talk to him about his involvement in the Farm System Health project - which brought together international farmers who have established personal philosophies & strategies of best practice that make them successful in running healthy farms & producing healthy food. We ask him what farm system health means to him & how he relates his practices to the 10 principles of health defined in the project.
Agricology in the Field - Wendy Seel
41:54Wendy Seel runs “organic, grown with nature, small scale & local” Vital Veg at North Tillydaff farm near Aberdeen. She describes the design of their growing system, ways in which they build soil fertility, attract pollinators & pest predators, increase biodiversity, & get as much diversity & variation in time, space & variety as they can. She particularly focuses on the way in which trees have been integrated & the many beneficial functions they serve. View the full farmer profile on the Agricology website.
Land Sharing and Sparing
1:31:15In this episode, we explore ideas around land sharing and sparing; considering how to balance the need for sustainable food production with the need to protect the environment and wild spaces in the future. The discussion is hosted by Charlotte Smith and recorded as part of NOCC online in partnership with OF&G. Featuring Sue Pritchard; Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, Roger Kerr; OF&G, Bruce Pearce; Organic Research Centre, and Vicki Hird from Sustain: The Alliance for Better Food and Farming.
Agricology in the Field - Jonathan Smith
25:43Jonathan Smith, organic grower on St Martins, Isles of Scilly, talks about why he farms as he does and describes how he uses seaweed, compost and green manures to build soil organic matter and fertility. He touches on challenges he faces, treating the farm like an ecosystem; focusing on biodiversity, and explains how he has used the Farm Carbon Calculator to gain more detailed understanding of his farm and inform his practices. View the full farmer profile on the Agricology website.