Using a permaculture approach to diversify farm outputs in the context of ELMS
Hosted by the Permaculture Association.
Since the 1980s, permaculture pioneers have been creating innovative farms and smallholdings around the world using a design approach and ecological principles. From the initial information, it looks like permaculture-designed farms will score very highly under The Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), the payment scheme that will be used to distribute “public money for public goods” as the Basic Payment Scheme is phased out from 2024. Farmers and land managers will no longer be paid to produce food, and will instead be paid to deliver public goods like clean air and water, biodiversity and heritage.
This session brought together two experienced permaculture designers and practitioners, who, alongside the CEO of the Permaculture Association, demonstrated the design approach, gave practical examples and showed how permaculture design provides a clear pathway to farmers looking to diversify their land, improve soil, biodiversity and income.
The session combined short, focused presentations and video clips with Q&A and panel discussion.
Hannah Thorogood is a permaculture farmer, designer and teacher. She has set up and runs her own 18 acre permaculture demonstration farm, The Inkpot. Hannah has taken the farm from a depleted, compacted, toxic arable field into the diverse, abundant farm it is today demonstrating permaculture, regenerative agriculture and producing nationally award winning food. Hannah is a senior tutor with the permaculture diploma system and has been teaching permaculture design courses for 15 years and permaculture teaching courses for 10 years. She has a reputation for creating a very accepting and fun learning environment, putting people from all backgrounds at ease to enjoy their learning together. Hannah has a BSc in Environmental Studies from Manchester University & an MSc Organic Farming from Scottish Agricultural College. She also loves to knit and crochet using her own Inkpot wool.
Niels Corfield is an advisor, researcher, educator, designer, grower and nurseryman who has been working to deliver a truly sustainable food system for over 10 years. Over this time Niels has acquired an amazing breadth of knowledge and gained experience on many different farms. This enables him to draw on a wide range of practical tools and techniques to find what works in every new situation. He works to create sustainable/regenerative landscapes, farms and spaces in the UK and Europe with a focus on agro-ecological systems that are low maintenance and productive. Niels works in partnership with the PFLA on soils, coordinating the PFLA soils monitoring project – establishing an empiric case for healthy soils on pasture and mixed farms – and provides a number of services direct to farmers.
Andy Goldring is the Chief Executive of the Permaculture Association and has been supporting the organisation’s farm policy work since 2000 through projects such as the influential Low Carbon Farming initiative, member working groups and network learning events. Andy has provided direct project support to many member farmers and smallholders and initiated the LAND demonstration network which now has 100+ sites that can be visited in the UK. Andy is currently working to develop the association’s advice and support for farmers wishing to use the permaculture design approach to achieve maximum ecological, social and financial benefits once the new ELMS scheme has been implemented.