Hosted by Hannah Field, Sue Pritchard and Julia Aglionby, Food, Farming and Countryside Commission.
The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission are turning the recommendations from the ‘Our Future in the Land’ report, developed over 2 years of participatory research, into practical actions with our partners in governments, businesses and communities. This is being supported through 6 place-based inquiries – 3 in England, and 1 in each of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, with funding from Esmée Fairburn Foundation. The recommendations are, at their core, focusing on connecting food, farming and the public’s health for a just transition to a greener, fairer economy in response to the climate, nature, health and now Covid-19 emergencies. To enable these actions, we are helping to convene collective leadership and collaboration across sectors and stakeholders.
Cumbria is our Northern England inquiry, focusing on upland contexts. This session was an excellent opportunity to engage with stakeholders and gain valuable input and collaboration to support this 3-year implementation, action-focused phase. There will be an overview of the inquiries nationally and then a focus on Cumbria to explore how we might implement some of the recommendations. The recommendations we discussed could include (subject to change at this early stage of the inquiry):
• a National Nature Service to support young people from different backgrounds to experience meaningful land-based work to kickstart the regenerative economy
• a roadmap to support the transition into agroecological farming practice
• supporting equitable distribution of the health and wellbeing benefits of access to landscapes and nature connection.
Participants received a summary report of the session and next steps in the inquiry.
Find out more about the work and reports at ffcc.co.uk
Sue Pritchard 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.
Julia Aglionby is the Chair of the Cumbria Inquiry for the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission. Julia is Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land, Chair of the Uplands Alliance, a practicing Rural Chartered Surveyor and Agricultural Valuer and a Professor in Practice at the University of Cumbria. Julia was a Board Member of Natural England from 2014 – 2019. She has worked as an environmental economist on National Park Management in Indonesia and the Philippines. Julia’s PhD research was at Newcastle University Law School and her thesis was entitled Governance of Common Land in National Parks: Plurality and Purpose. Julia lives in the Eden Valley, Cumbria with her family on an organic Care Farm of which she is a Trustee – Susan’s Farm CIO – where she enjoys practical farm work at the weekends.
Hannah Field is the Cumbria Inquiry Coordinator for the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission. Hannah grew up in Rochester, Kent and has spent the last 10 years in Cumbria, beginning with her studies at the University of Cumbria gaining a BSc (Hons) in Animal Conservation Science and then, in 2019, her PGDip Ecosystem Services Evaluation. Hannah is currently a PhD Student at the University, researching how diverse perspectives and values in land management can be brought together for social and ecological benefit through place-based decision-making in case studies of common land contexts. During this time in Cumbria, Hannah has worked for Forestry England in communications and visitor experience and runs her own business. She is an artist and tutor in wool crafts, designs and teaches nature-based and regenerative livelihood programmes and helps with horticulture and livestock on a permaculture smallholding. Hannah weaves together practical experience and academic knowledge to inform her research and practice. Building relationships with the land threads Hannah’s life through fell-walking, mountaineering, lake swimming and gardening, always with collie-dog Nova.
You can read a blog post about the session outcomes here.