Month: June 2022

Swan Song of the Local Abattoir - Image

The value and vulnerability of the small abattoir

This film was screened as part of one of our webinar sessions in 2020. It highlights the need and role of local abattoirs and processing.

Links and campaigns

Sustainable Food Trust’s campaign for local abattoirs:

Abattoir Sector Group:

All party group on animal welfare report: 

Sustain report on needed infrastructure in East Lancashire and Sussex: 

Alexandra Genova is an independent journalist and filmmaker with more than seven years experience based in London and New York, working for platforms including Al Jazeera, National Geographic, TIME, New York Times, and the Guardian. She has a particular interest in social justice, agriculture and indigenous peoples and is working on a series of short films that explore issues relating to the UK’s farming industry, as well as producing a feature documentary about the Mursi, an agro-pastoralist tribe in southern Ethiopia. You can see more of her work here:

Replacing imported soya - image

Replacing imported soya – a supply chain or a farmer issue?

Soya is a fantastic source of protein, but its prevalence as one of the world’s leading sources of protein is putting massive pressure on our planet. Growing millions of tonnes of soya and shipping it worldwide to feed our livestock isn’t sustainable.

An alternative to soya must be found if we are to reduce carbon emissions. So who is going to fix this? Is it the responsibility of the supply chain, or should farmers lead by finding their own alternatives?

In this video, we have perspectives from an animal feed expert, a retailer who wants to source responsibly and a farmer working through his own solutions.

First speaker: Rob Dakin – Managing partner at Daykin partnership Ltd.

Second speaker: Sam Lee Gammage – Group Ethics and Sustainability Manager for raw food sourcing, John Lewis Partnership

Third speaker: Mike Mallet – Farm Manager of Maple Farm Kelsale

No till living mulch Youtube image

No-till with living mulches – the holy grail for arable?

Tilling damages soil structure, but it is integral to our modern farming systems. Being able to use green manures and mulches without having to plough them in would save carbon and preserve the delicate balance of our soils. 

In these presentations, three speakers explain just where we’re up to and how we are progressing to the ‘holy grail’ of arable farming. We look at why it’s desirable, what equipment is available and what someone’s personal experience is.

First speaker: Jerry Alford (Soil Association)

Second speaker: Harry Henderson (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board)

Third speaker: Stuart Mitchell

Whitriggs Farm, Denholm, Scotland

The role of local wool - image

The role of local wool and textile production in regenerative farming

In this film, three speakers explain how they have all worked to develop new enterprises using local wool. These days wool is often seen as a secondary product of the sheep industry. Wool has little value until it is processed. 

Join Zoe, Maria and Kate as they each take you through their individual inspirational journeys into how they are developing local wool businesses here in the North of England.

First speaker: Maria Benjamin (Dodgson Wood Produce)

Second speaker: Kate Makin (Northern Yarn)

Third speaker: Dr. Zoe Fletcher (The Woolist)

Regen. Northern Farming - Youtube Thumbnail - NRFC Image

Three regenerative farming projects in the North of England

Regenerative livestock farming across the higher ground of the UK is developing ways that increase biodiversity, lowers inputs and increase profits.

Three farmers adopting regenerative livestock farming techniques explain how they got into it and why it’s working for them.

First speaker: Sam Beaumont (Gowbarrow Hall Farm)

Second speaker: Nic Renison (Renwick, Cumbria)

Third speaker: Garry Miller (Penruddock, Cumbria)

Lots of information about pasture farming is available from Pasture For Life.

NRFC at Carbon Calling

With support from WWF-UK’s Land, Food and Farming Fund, the NRFC is creating a series of shorter videos which will show farmers talking about their own experiences and offering practical advice on the profit and pitfalls of changing their land management methods.

The NRFC will have a stall at the Carbon Calling event on Saturday 25 June at Sleastonhow, Kirkby Thore, Penrith, CA10 1XL to meet farmers, tell them about the videos, explore how the NRFC can best support a transition to low input approaches and share ways for them to get involved – there is an active NRFC network of Northern farmers interested in regenerative farming as well as conferences, farm visits and events.

Ellen Pearce from NRFC said: “We have developed an amazing archive of resources and online sessions with themes covering everything from dung beetles to soil health, nutrition to grains and urban farming to cow-with-calf dairying! We now have the capacity to share the best of our archives to further impact farming approaches and associated land-use in the North of England. We hope farmers will join our community, access the resources and knowledge and share their stories.”

You can buy tickets for Carbon Calling here.

Farm visit to Crosslanes Organic Farm and Trees House Farm, 21 July 2020

Brought to you by the NRFC team in collaboration with Pasture for Life, and very kindly hosted by Debs and Simon Hare from Crosslanes Organic Farm and Trees House Farm, this is a farm visit not to be missed. Please bring a fellow farmer,. neighbour or family member who may be interested in regenerative approaches (register via the link). There will be:

  • a farm walk to see the certified livestock and hear how they are produced
  • a delicious PfL certified beef lunch in the Café
  • a tour of the shop and talk about how they support local producers and weave eco principles and sustainability into product sourcing

More information and registration is here

Register early as places are restricted and offered on a first come basis.

This visit is supported by WWF project funding.

NRFC plans for 2022

we wanted to update you on the Northern Real Farming Conference plans for this year, and highlight some upcoming events and opportunities. As we grapple with the soaring costs of inputs, changing weather patterns and the preparation needed for the change to Environmental Land Management support, NRFC believes regenerative approaches to farming can reduce inputs, increase profitability and future-proof farm businesses. The Northern Real Farming Conference (NRFC) plans for this year include a project funded by WWF to:

  • creating a resource-bank of farmer-led videos from our previous events in an edited easy-to-watch format along with links, contacts and other information
  • a series of farm visits and local events across the region
  • building the active network of Northern farmers and other food system workers

We won’t be running a large-scale conference this Autumn, instead taking some time to plan an event better conference for 2023. We will, however, be out and about at various events around the North in the next few months. In the meantime, here are some opportunities you might be interested in.