Ellen Pearce writes about LESS’s plans for hosting the first Northern Real Farming Conference.

“The impact of the Covid-19 out-break and measures to contain its spread are reaching far into our families, communities, economies, labour markets and supply chains. Along with the increasingly evident impact of the climate and ecological crises, now, more than ever, we need to re-think our approaches to farming, fishing and food”.

“Plans for The Northern Real Farming Conference are inspired by the long-running Oxford Real Farming Conference which focuses on enlightened agriculture: agriculture that is expressly designed to provide everyone, everywhere, with food of the highest quality, both nutritionally and gastronomically, without cruelty or injustice and without wrecking the rest of the world”.

The Northern Real Farming Conference is coordinated by LESS and run in partnership with the Oxford Real Farming Conference”.

“The Northern gathering, which had been planned to take place in Lancaster Town Hall at the end of September 2020, will focus on exploring the ideas of economic democracy, food sovereignty and agroecology as under-pinning principles for our futures. Given the current pandemic, the gathering will now take place online with the specific hope of building networks of farmers, fishers, land managers, researcher and activists within the farming and food sectors in the north of England”.

“As the Covid-19 restrictions impact our own experiences as individuals of sourcing and procuring food on a day-to-day level, we are also aware of some of the supply chain issues. For example, with cafes and restaurants now closed, some farms have challenges in getting their food to market. At the same time, we lack an agricultural UK workforce and the labour needed to support the harvest of UK grown crops”.

“Never has there been a better time to re-think and share practical experiences of innovative and environmentally sustainable ways to farm and bring food to our markets and ultimately our kitchen tables”.

The Northern Real Farming Conference is calling all those with an interest in sustainable food and farming models to share ideas and support with the running of the first Northern Real Farming Conference. Whether you are interested in putting new models of farming into practice, whether you are already a pioneer, have been farming for some time or are a new entrant to the sector, we would love to hear from you”.

“If you have, or know of, interesting examples, or would like to get involved, please express interest via this form: https://forms.gle/3xn2Er6XBjP39bTS9

You can also contact me directly via email: ellen@lessuk.org.

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