Rod has spent the last year developing an educational board game on resilient food called ‘Lifting the lid’. The game works with a range of different food types and illustrates the difference between conventional and agroecological options for its production. For each food there are scores for its effect on human health, natures diversity, community building and other resilient food criteria. There are chance cards that help show how we can care for our future food system. This is a board game for up to 8 people . There will be 3 boards (total 24 participants). This game is in development so discussion and feedback will be encouraged. The intention of the game is to give participants an inside look at our food system and hopefully the participants will become inspired to change to a more agroecological future for food.
Speakers/hosts will include:
Rod Everett – Rod is an organic farmer in the Forest of Bowland producing unusual apple cider vinegar to stimulate health. An ecologist, researcher for FoodFutures, farm advisor, permaculture teacher and natural flood management consultant. He is also a founder of the Northern Real Farming Conference
Hosted by Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn)
This session introduces the concept of nutrient density and its importance for citizen and planetary health. Key findings from the Bionutrient Food Association’s research on crop nutrient variation will be presented along with an update on the development of the Bionutrient Meter. Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn) will give an overview of their citizen science project working with growers and farmers mainly from the UK, including Scotland, as grower partners learning how to measure crop quality, and provide results of vegetable brix values, a taste testing and demonstration garden trialling three different growing practices. Additionally, key advocacy messages will be shared, including the need to shift the narrative from food quantity based on yield to food quality based on nutrient density; essential for improving population health.
Graham Bell’s career as an internationally respected Permaculture teacher, author and lecturer has spanned over 30 years and in 1990 was the first person in Britain to be personally awarded the Diploma in Permaculture by Bill Mollison. During the nineties, he was lead instructor and trainer of trainers on the Countryside Premium Scheme (for farmers) in Scotland. Graham’s home in the Scottish Borders with his wife Nancy boasts the longest standing intentional food forest garden in Britain. His main career “is as a storyteller”, teaching about the living environment, sharing skills for a better future and respecting the prior knowledge of everyone who joins this progression.
Dan Kittredge has farmed organically for 30+ years, and is the founder and executive director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), whose mission is to “increase quality in the food supply”. As a leading proponent of “nutrient density”, Dan works to demonstrate the connections between soil health, plant health and human health. The Real Food Campaign, now the Bionutrient Institute, has engineered a prototype of a hand-held citizen spectrometer designed to test nutrient density at point of purchase. Via the Bionutrient Meter, the goal is to empower citizens to choose for nutrient quality and thereby leverage economic incentives to drive full system regeneration.
Matthew Adams is Co-Founder and Director of Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn). He studied Holistic Environmental Management (B.Sc.) and is inspired by Deep Ecology. Matthew was Director of The Good Gardeners Association (2000-2011) and author of ‘Beyond Organic, a Vision of the Future’, published in the Soil Association’s journal Mother Earth. He contends that food quality can be defined by its nutrient content which relates directly to ecosystem health – the aim of regenerative practices.
Elizabeth Westaway is Co-Founder and Director of Growing Real Food for Nutrition CIC (Grffn). She is an international public health nutrition specialist, who has worked since 1995 as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in academia, non-governmental organisations and the United Nations on health, nutrition, food security and agriculture projects in emergency and development contexts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Elizabeth has a PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia, UK and interests in community-based nutrition, healthy and sustainable diets, food quality, nutrition security, food systems, regenerative agriculture, permaculture, livelihoods and poverty reduction.
Mark Ridsdill Smith founded Vertical Veg in 2009, after discovering how much food he could grow on the balcony of his flat. Mark’s website and Facebook page inspire and support people to grow food in small, urban spaces, and he has run workshops across the UK, including for Garden Organic and Capital Growth.
Mark is the author of The Vertical Veg Guide to Container Gardening: How to grow an abundance of herbs, vegetables and fruit in small spaces, to be published by Chelsea Green in March 2022.
Most agroecologists understand that genetic engineering has no place in a responsible, fair and sustainable food system but the PR campaign promoting new gene editing techniques is clever, well-resourced and gaining ground. The UK Government is accelerating plans to remove vital regulatory safeguards and, with them, our ability to say no. Post-Brexit market rules mean that even Scotland’s strong policy rejection of all GMOs will be under threat if we don’t stop the headlong rush towards a high-tech quick-fix takeover of our food and our farms.
Join an expert panel to learn about the latest scientific and political developments as well as the most effective ways to make your voice heard. There will also be plenty of time for questions on any aspect of GM in food and farming.
Liz O’Neill – Liz is the Director of GM Freeze, the UK umbrella campaign on GM food, crops and patents. GM Freeze is working to help create a responsible, fair and sustainable food system.
Steven Jacobs – Steven is the Business Development Manager of Organic Farmers & Growers which certifies more than half of UK organic land and provides support, information and licensing to Britain’s top organic food businesses.
Pete Richie – Pete is the Executive Director of Nourish Scotland, a charity focusing on food policy and practice. He also runs Whitmuir Organics with his partner.
Measuring food for nutrient density can indicate the health of soil and plants, and show whether the microbial ecosystem surrounding a food plant is broken or harmonious. High nutrient density is indicative of a harmonious ecosystem where the transfer of energy and matter (nutrients) is increased.
By collaborating with nature, humans can become part of a healthy ecosystem. Hence, defining food quality by its potential to deliver health for both people and planet requires humans to work closely with soils and plants to optimise living processes that are nourishing. This can be measured by nutrient density, which reflects the health of an ecosystem – the aim for nature-friendly farming practices.
This session increased awareness about the importance of growing and eating nutrient dense food, introduce how to measure and increase nutrient density, and showcased different organisations/projects that are currently working on nutrient density to restore soil health, and improve nutrition for better citizen and planetary health.
Sue Pritchard (session Chair) is Chief Executive of the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, a newly independent charitable organisation working across the UK and funded by Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. Its mission is to help implement the recommendations contained in its reports in June 2019, accelerating the transition to a fair, sustainable food and farming system and a thriving countryside, reversing climate change, restoring nature, and improving public health and wellbeing. Sue runs an organic, permaculture livestock farm in Wales, home to the Silver Birch Foundation, a charity providing education, training and development for disaffected young people, in partnership with local schools.
Dan Kittredge has been an organic farmer for more than 30 years, and is the founder and executive director of the Bionutrient Food Association (BFA), a non-profit in the USA whose mission is to “increase quality in the food supply.” Known as one of the leading proponents of “nutrient density,” Dan works to demonstrate the connections between soil health, plant health and human health. Out of these efforts was born the Real Food Campaign which has engineered a prototype of a hand-held consumer spectrometer designed to test nutrient density at point of purchase. Via the Bionutrient Meter, the goal is to empower consumers to choose for nutrient quality and thereby leverage economic incentives to drive full system regeneration.
Matthew Adams is a Deep ecologist, Environmental Manager (B.Sc.) and was Director of The Good Gardeners Association (2000-2011). His work focuses on developing projects for education and research around growing food for nutrition. Author of ‘Beyond Organic, a Vision of the Future’, published in the Soil Association’s journal Mother Earth, Matthew contends that food quality should be defined by its nutrient content, allowing growing practices to be more intuitive and systems-based rather than limited by certifications and yield quotas.
Gillian Butler spent over 40 years working with livestock farmers, mostly focusing on animal feeding, afterwhich it became apparent that differences in how we manage our animals has a bearing on the food they produce. Her current research considers the impact of management on farms (mostly down to animal feeding) on food quality, linked to consumer health – aiming to identify key action necessary to produce milk, meat and eggs to enhance, rather than challenge, health.
Patrick Holden is the founder and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, an organisation founded in 2012 and working internationally to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems. Prior to this he was director of the Soil Association (until 2010) during which time his advocacy and campaigning for more sustainable food systems was underpinned through the development of the organic standards and market-place. His farming experience spans nearly 50 years, centred on Holden Farm Dairy, now the longest established organic dairy farm in West Wales, where he produces Hafod cheese from the milk of his 80 Ayrshire cows. He was awarded a CBE for services to organic farming in 2005, is Patron of the UK Biodynamic Farming Association and was elected an Ashoka Fellow in 2016.
Patrick is a regular writer, broadcaster, and speaker at public events.
Elizabeth Westaway is an international public health and nutrition specialist, who has worked as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in academia, NGOs and the UN on health, nutrition, food security and agriculture projects in emergency and development contexts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. She has a PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia, and was formerly on the steering group of People Food Power and Nottingham Good Food Partnership. Her current research interests are food quality, social prescribing and regenerative healthcare.
Matt Dunwell has run Ragmans Lane Farm, a 60 acre farm in the Wye Valley, using Permaculture principles for 30 years. Over this time, he has hosted hundreds of courses in Permaculture and sustainable land use with over 2,000 people attending various courses. Jairo Restrepo and Juanfran Lopez both teach at Ragmans developing the understanding and practice of biofertilisers in a temperate climate. Matt now makes and applies biofertilisers at Ragmans using them on 8 acres of organic apple trees.
Hosted by Elizabeth Westaway with social and community farm projects.
There has been a huge rise of interest in social prescribing across the UK and particularly within the northern context. The NHS defines social prescribing as a type of personalised care, with people having choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered, based on what matters to them and their individual strengths and needs.
This is a major shift in how people, professionals and the healthcare system interact, putting the patient at the centre of their care and their community.
People are referred to a link worker who connects them to groups and activities in the community that can offer support.
Social prescribing acknowledges that people’s health is determined by a range of socio-ecological factors, and tries to address their needs more broadly. By supporting people to take greater control of their own health, instead of being prescribed medication, social prescribing is an effective way of alleviating different health conditions.
Social prescribing of community urban food growing has gained traction over the last few years as an effective intervention for improving people’s physical and mental health, and emotional well-being, with numerous studies supporting this.
The combination of getting outside, being re-connected with nature, meeting new people, making friends, growing seasonal fruit and vegetables, having a purpose, developing a sense of community and belonging, and sharing a healthy, nutritious meal together all have positive benefits for patients and local people. Community urban food growing can also provide learning opportunities, empower people, support grassroots activism and is increasingly being adopted in urban agriculture.
This session showcased several social prescribing of community urban food growing projects, shared lessons learned and potential for replication; transforming citizen health, neighbourhoods and futures. Projects showcased included: the Royal Horticultural Society’s new garden (Salford), Northern Roots (the UK’s largest Urban Farm) (Oldham), Horton Community Farm (Bradford) and Woodlands Community Development Trust (Glasgow).
Dr Michael Hardman, an urban geographer, co-leads the Salford Care and Urban Farm Hub. He has research interests in radical green infrastructure interventions and local food growing, and its impact on communities.
Dr Elizabeth Westaway is an international public health and nutrition specialist, who has worked as a practitioner, researcher and consultant in academia, NGOs and the UN on health, nutrition, food security and agriculture projects in emergency and development contexts of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. She has a PhD in International Development from the University of East Anglia, and was formerly on the steering group of People Food Power and Nottingham Good Food Partnership. Her current research interests are food quality, social prescribing and regenerative healthcare.
Dr Michelle Howarth leads the University of Salford’s Social Prescribing Hub, sits on the National Social Prescribing Network and works with Greater Manchester Natural Capital exploring evidence-based approaches.
Charlie Gray is a Director, and Community and Training Coordinator at Horton Community Farm Cooperative Ltd, ‘a LAND Permaculture centre for food growing and community resilience’ in Bradford City Centre. She has worked there for over ten years, developing their programmes. The farm works across five strands: education, wildlife, therapy, volunteering and food growing. She has designed, fundraised for and delivered numerous pilot projects for the cooperative, working with partner organisations, offering services to the local community. Projects include forest schools and outdoor education, horticultural therapy and the recent ‘Mindfulness Garden’, now working to consolidate commissioned services with commissioners, GPs and Social Prescribers.
Tim Cowen has worked in the voluntary sector for over 25 years. Since 2011 he’s been the manager for Woodlands Community Development Trust, a Glasgow-based environmental charity. Here he’s overseen the development of their highly successful community garden and community café, as well as the creation of Woodlands Workspace, a community building and events space. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Woodlands Community have expanded their front-line services, with an increased focus on mental health and well-being. Tim has a Law degree and Masters in Welfare Law. Later this year, he will be self-publishing his first novel ‘Banquet of the Beasts.’
You can read a blog post about the outcomes of the session here.
What I do as a dietitian to advocate and inspire sustainability by supporting local producers.
My work on the committee of the British Dietetic Association Sustainability Group and the wider aims of the group.
The changes I’ve introduced to the farm since beginning my MSc in Organic Farming, including starting a new enterprise raising turkeys for Christmas on a silvopasture system.
Rosa Holt is the food and farming dietitian. She is a registered dietitian, fascinated by nutritional science and agroecology. She focuses on nutritional quality, provenance and environmental sustainability to create positive changes. She aims to encourage and practice meaningful action to create sustainable and resilient land use, to achieve coherent farming and food production while improving agricultural, environmental and public health.