Video resource

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Cinderwood Market Garden Two Years In

Cinderwood Market Garden on the outskirts of Crewe in Cheshire seeks to solve a difficult problem. 

Many restaurants want a constantly changing range of fresh, seasonal, local produce to inspire their menus and excite their customers. 

Some top-end Northern restaurateurs, such as Nigel Howarth of Northcote Manor and Mark Birchall of Moor Hall near Ormskirk, have gone as far as to set up their own market gardens to supply some of their needs.

A pair of chefs from Manchester, with strong convictions to support small organic producers and a desire to solve climate change issues, partnered with a young market gardener to start a new growing project. 

Cinderwood Market Garden is there to give many Manchester chefs what they crave, a supply of ever-changing, fresh, local and seasonal produce that sparks their creativity and impresses their customers. It sounds straightforward as a business idea. A hungry market and a fresh new and keen supplier. But, if you know anything about food growing, it isn’t easy. 

Starting a new farming business in a sector with notoriously tight margins, supplying a market that has a reputation for being perhaps a little fickle and wanting to follow fashion has lots of traps.

Since it started two years ago, Cinderwood Market Garden has had to learn fast if they were going to survive. 

What are its biggest issues? Balancing supply with demand and getting a low-margin product delivered directly to its customers efficiently enough to make a profit still.

Business partners, chef Joe Otway and grower Michael Fitzsimmons, share how they deal with those challenges. They also tell us some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

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Changing Scotland’s Landscape Through Agroforestry – A farmer’s experience

With multiple pressures coming from all angles, one thing is clear: our landscapes will, and must, be managed differently. This session discussed the opportunities and the tensions between upland farming, commercial forestry and rewilding in a post-COVID, post-Brexit, climate-changing future. This is one presentation from an all-Scottish panel of farmers and conservationists.

Andrew Barbour is a farmer and forester working in Highland Perthshire.  He was the chairman of the Scottish Government’s Woodland Expansion Advisory Group, which reported back in 2010, looking at the ambitions of Govt to expand forestry at that time.  More recently, he was part of the Deer Working Group, which has just recently reported to the Scottish Government.

In this video, he gives an account of the tree planting he’s carried out on his farm in Perthshire.

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Pasture fed beef; from farm to shop

Cross Lanes Organic Farm Shop and Simon Hare of Trees House Farm collaborated to develop a highly successful short supply chain. It is focused on offering customers a wide range of high-quality meats, including Pasture for Life certified beef.

The Northern Real Farming Conference teamed up with Pasture for Life for an event hosted by Cross Lanes Organic Shop and Café and their supplier, Trees House Farm. The event on Thursday, 21st July 2022, near Barnard Castle, Durham, was a fantastic opportunity to visit two Pasture for Life Certified businesses that work in partnership, to maximise the success of both.

The visit went quite literally from Farm to Fork. It included a farm walk to see the certified livestock and hear how they are produced. Visitors then sampled a delicious PfL-certified beef lunch in the Café and a tour of the shop and talked about how they support local producers and weave eco principles and sustainability into product sourcing.

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Farming for profitability – A maximum sustainable output model.

You can keep throwing resources towards the goal of getting more output from your farm, but are you using what nature has given you wisely?

Chris Clark of Nethergill Associates explains how you can reach a point where adding more inputs isn’t sustainable and can be counterproductive. He calls it ‘Maximum Sustainable Output.’

This video explains why you should aim for a ‘sweet spot’ of using what nature gives for both profits and the planet. Maximum sustainable output means farmers can farm in an environmentally sustainable way.

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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:

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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

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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

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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)