just transition

Outdoor learning and land-based careers

Harewood offers varied outdoor learning opportunities, such as school visits, apprenticeships, work placements and volunteering. They have developed and delivered a programme for school visits under a Countryside Stewardship agreement, which welcomed over 400 children to the Estate in the first six months. These sessions cover a range of topics such as biodiversity, renewable energy, regenerative approaches to farming, conservation and more.

During a tour of the Estate the Harewood team will share their learnings, including how to approach schools, developing relevant curriculum and the infrastructure needed for successful sessions.

The tour will be followed by lunch, featuring produce from Harewood, and then a discussion session to explore:

  • Engaging with schools and providing relevant learning at different levels

  • How can we create more opportunities for people to move into land-based jobs?

Follow the link below to join us:


10am – 3pm (lunch and refreshments provided)

The Hovels, Harewood Estate, LS17 9LF, near Leeds, Tuesday 26 March 2024.

Community ownership and land matching

Access to land for aspiring or experienced farmers can be a challenge. Land prices now outstrip the potential returns from small-scale farming so that fields which could be used for food production are often sold for housing, as an investment, for carbon off-setting or other more lucrative uses. This contributes to a widening gap between urban and rural areas, which is leaving whole communities disconnected from the land and dependent on an industrialised food system which is contributing to ill-health and climate breakdown.

But there is another way: throughout the UK many communities are finding creative ways to come together to protect our green, rural spaces for food growing and landscape recovery. Featuring case studies from successful projects, this one-day farm visit will:

  • Explore case studies of getting land into community ownership, including Moss Lane farm’s work and strategy

  • Include a tour of Moss Lane farm and the community businesses that share the land

  • Be a chance to identify further actions to support greater land access for agroecological farming in the North of England

Follow the link below to join us and explore different ways to access land for food, farming and nature, including community ownership and land matching:


10.30am – 4pm (lunch provided)

Moss Lane Farm, M30 7RL, near Eccles (Salford), Thursday 21 March 2024.

Outline programme:

10.30 am Arrival/tea/coffee

10.45am Introductions and welcome

11.30am Context: the qualifications landscape and progress/challenges towards embedding agroecology in existing models

11.30pm Tour of Haigh Hall

1.00pm Lunch

1.45pm Co-designing a L2

3.15pm Collation of feedback on current system

3.30pm Wrap up and next steps/what more is needed in the North?

4pm Close

Landworkers Alliance meet and greet

Hosted by the Landworkers Alliance

An informal meet and greet session. Come and meet your local reps and find out what’s happening locally.

Speakers/hosts include:

Jenny Hanley – Jenny is a keen allotmenteer and avid environmentalist, she is currently studying an Msc in Sustainable Food and Natural Resources at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Jessie Scantlebury – Jessie is another keen allotmenteer who runs her own gardening business, designing all manner of things using permaculture practices.

Urban Agriculture Consortium: progress, prognosis, COP26 feedback, policy influencing with a focus on Sheffield

Hosted by the Urban Agriculture Consortium

The Urban Agriculture Consortium (launched summer 2020) has rapidly established itself as an innovative part of the emerging regenerative agroecology ecosystem, with an initial focus on 5 northern “pathfinder” cities, as well as emerging partnerships & collaborations across the UK.   

We’ll report back on progress with a particular focus on:

  • Building and enhancing the Urban Agriculture Consortium network
  • Progress with the northern pathfinder places and the northern farmstart cluster, UAC’s typology and evaluation. 
  • Feedback and calls to action after COP26.
  • Focus on Sheffield – a dialogue with Cllr Alison Teal and Gareth Roberts on how progress has accelerated through policy interaction, and emerging proposals for a city- region urban agriculture task force.
  • PINGs – Policy Influencing Network Groups – future plans.
  • Outline of plans for 2022

We hope this will inspire further pathfinder clusters in other parts of England and Wales in 2022.

People will gain an insight into the rapidly establishing Urban Agriculture Consortium, growing momentum behind urban farmstarts and collaborations between local, regional and national partners on how to influence policy makers.

Speakers/hosts include:

Jeremy Isles – Jeremy instigated the Urban Agriculture Consortium in response to concerns over rising food insecurity and climate emergency. After extensive consultations during 2017-19, the UAC was launched in summer of 2020.  Arriving in the midst of Covid & Brexit fall-out, the UAC message of re-localisation of regenerative agroecology has struck a chord and the UAC has rapidly established a place in the evolving ecosystem of partners advocating radical & bold food system change.

This work is built on Jeremy’s long-standing work as pioneering environmental activist, “doing something useful” as a cycle campaigner at Friends of the Earth in 1983, as Director of the London Wildlife Trust (1984-90), in Bangladesh and Eritrea with VSO (1991-93),  as Regional Manager for Sustrans (1994-2000), and as CEO at the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (2000-2016).  Many of the projects and partnerships he initiated and worked on during this period have had a significant and long lasting impact including the National Cycle Network, Allotments Regeneration Initiative, Local Food Consortium, Community Land Advisory Service, and Growing Together. 

This long track record has led to his involvement in an innovative oral history of the green movement – funding yet to be confirmed.

Other interests include nurturing an allotment, singing, guitars, cycling, painting and sailing.

Maddy Longhurst – Maddy has always followed her instincts to work on initiatives and ideas that lie in the fertile margins and serve future generations. Recently this has involved the protection of land and soils, community-led thermal imaging of cold homes, Ecosystem Restoration Design, creating regenerative Tiny House Settlements, Sociocracy and Gleaning training for communities. Maddy worked on Phase 1 of the urban agriculture project in 2019 and is currently coordinating the Urban Agriculture Consortium with Jeremy Iles.

Alison Teal – Alison trained as a Clinical Psychologist in Australia and worked as a Consultant Psychologist and Family Therapist for many years. She returned to the UK in 2013 and settled in Sheffield in February 2014 in Nether Edge & Sharrow. With her daughters close to adulthood she decided it was time to get involved in politics and lobby all levels of government to take action on the Climate and Ecological Crisis. She is passionate about nature, social justice, women’s equality, and democracy.
Alison says, “The Green Party is the only party which looks at the challenges we face locally, nationally and globally in a systemic way. We consider how the decisions we make today will affect future generations.”

Alison became a founding core member of Save Nether Edge Trees campaign group in 2015 which led to several years of engaging in non-violent direct action to prevent the felling of healthy mature trees. She was arrested for trying to protect trees and also taken to the High Court by Sheffield City Council who applied for an order to send her to prison. However, the judge dismissed the case.

Duncan Williamson – Duncan is a recognised environment, sustainable consumption and food systems expert. He is the founder and director of Nourishing Food Systems and currently works with Action Against Hunger developing their strategies on climate change and the emerging food crisis. He is working with WWF, Chatham House and is on the steering group for the Fork to Farm COP26 project, overseen by Nourish Scotland. He has been working in the environment and related fields for over 20 years, with the last 13 focused on food systems and has an MSC in Sustainable Environmental Management focusing on land use. He has led teams and projects at Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and WWF UK. He is on the advisory body for the DiverIMPACTS project, which focuses on crop diversification through crop rotation and the food systems atlas. Also, setting up a community farm in his village.

Gareth Roberts – Gareth is a founder member and co-director of Regather, and coordinator of ShefFood – Sheffield’s Food Partnership. Gareth is passionate about cooperation, and has worked collaboratively with people from all walks of life for over 20 years. Since 2015 Gareth has led strategic developments around Community Economic Development and Sustainable Food Systems in Sheffield, ensuring Regather and ShefFood lead on innovative economic and social change. His mission is a food system where money is retained in the local economy, land is more productive, food is better quality, health is improved and people have better awareness of and involvement with how the food system, from local to global, can be changed for the better.

Developing permaculture farm enterprises

Hosted by the Permaculture Association

In this session Hannah Thorogood will share the story of her successful mixed farm enterprise – the Inkpot – as a case study of how permaculture design can transform land and create a vibrant business. We invite other farmers and growers to come and share their own experiences and together we will explore questions such as how a design approach can support the process of making a farm more diverse, and how to manage, market and sell the diverse farm products and services that come from polycultural farm systems.

Permaculture offers a pathway towards farms that are regenerative, biodiverse, soil enhancing, resilient and profitable. Through this session participants will learn how they can incorporate these approaches into their own enterprises, and how to connect with other farmers and growers that are also exploring and applying permaculture principles.

Open to all. Please do come along and share your story!

Speakers/hosts include:

Hannah Thorogood – Hannah is a successful one-woman farmer who is not only mob-grazing her cattle and sheep, but also her turkeys! She has been practising regenerative techniques for 10 years and permaculture techniques for nearly 20. Hannah is a permaculture farmer, designer and teacher. She has taken the farm from an 18 acre depleted, compacted, toxic arable field into the diverse, abundant 100+ acre farm it is today demonstrating permaculture, regenerative agriculture and producing nationally award winning food.

Andy Goldring – Andy is the CEO of the Permaculture Association and has been working over the last 20+ years to support the development of projects, local and national farming initiatives, demonstration sites and case studies that show how permaculture is being applied within farms, smallholdings and micro-enterprises.

Beekeeping for permaculturists

Hosted by the Lune Valley Beekeepers

Around 60% of all edible crops are insect pollinated (Defra). The only pollinating insect that can be successfully managed outdoors, at scale, is the honey bee. The presentation will explain an environmentally friendly, low interventionist approach to beekeeping for those who want bees but do not have the time to involve themselves in conventional beekeeping techniques.

Speakers/hosts include:

Fred Ayres – Fred Ayres has been keeping bees for over 20 years and was initially trained as a conventional beekeeper. As his colony numbers increased, along with the time involved in managing them, he began to wonder if there was a better way. He was very clear that his interest lay in finding out what was best for the bees, the environment in which they thrived and pollination rather than the production of honey or to manipulate their breeding. The outcomes were to identify a number of alternative approaches which are being increasingly adopted across the country and the design of an innovative beehive which better suited to a northern environment, avoids the need for heavy lifting and can be managed by someone in a wheelchair. He is the current Chair of Trustees on Lune Valley Beekeepers.

The role of local wool and textile production in regenerative farming

Hosted by Rebecca Whittle

This event will bring you a panel of inspirational women; all of whom work with British wool or other fibres. Kate Makin (owner & founder of Northern Yarn), Maria Benjamin (Dodgson Wood farm), Zoe Fletcher (the Woolist), Andrea Meanwell (Low Borrowbridge Farm, author & Guardian columnist) and Rachel Atkinson (Daughter of a Shepherd) will join us to discuss how the wool industry has changed and how localised textile production can form an important part of regenerative farming landscapes, particularly in upland regions.

Speakers/hosts include:

Rebecca Whittle – Rebecca is a passionate advocate of local and sustainable food, farming and textiles. She is senior lecturer at Lancaster Environment Centre, community food skills chair for North Lancashire FoodFutures and a member of the Lancaster Textile Care Collective

Kate Makin – Kate is the owner and founder of Northern Yarn, an independent yarn shop in Lancaster which sources a wide variety of local and sustainable yarns including her own range which has been developed in collaboration with local farmers.

Maria Benjamin – Maria is the co-founder of Dodgson Wood, a farm diversification business based at Nibthwaite Grange Farm near Ulverston. Maria gives talks about building a business from scratch, particularly to the agricultural sector. She recently co-founded The Flock, which aims to provide British yarn from regenerative farms to fashion brands.

Zoe Fletcher: Passionate about British fleece and wool, Zoe’s work revolves around building honest, sustainable relationships with designers and producers, bridging the gap between raw materials, production and the end consumer. Pushing the boundaries using British wool and new technologies, exploring breed specific characteristics and celebrating their variety and versatility. Founder of the Woolist and co-founder of The Flock.

Local policy and sustainable farming: Sticking points or a genuine impasse?

Clearly, efforts to generalise sustainable farming practices face some pretty considerable barriers: unforgiving market conditions, unhelpful subsidies, uncooperative banks, unrelentingly inflated land values, and so on. What role can local authorities play in addressing these issues and supporting a transition to a more regenerative farming landscape? From county farms to public procurement, development banks to planning reform, over the years various measures have been proposed to support sustainable farming, and in many areas local councils are currently experimenting with their implementation.

This session will draw on case studies from across the North (and beyond) to assess their performance, and reflect on the opportunities and challenges for local policy approaches. The panelists will outline how local agricultural policies have been put into practice, what impact they’ve had on the sector, and what lessons have been learned for our big-picture strategies for food systems transitions. Through discussion we’ll attempt to confront some of the most challenging questions: where do these policies hit limits, and to what extent can they be overcome? If policy has its limits, what other options do we have?

Speakers/hosts include:

Callum Sunderland – Callum is a graduate student at the Centre for Alternative Technology. He recently completed dissertation research on the impact of Preston City Council’s local economic strategy on Lancashire’s agricultural sector. He grew up in Hull and currently lives in London.

Rebecca Laughton – Rebecca has many years of experience in organic market gardening, farming and research relating to small scale agriculture and low impact planning, and is author of “Surviving and Thriving on the Land” (Green Books 2008) . She currently works part time at a glasshouse in Somerset, growing salad crops, while focussing on advocacy and research in the Landworkers’ Alliance Horticulture Campaign.

Ruth Westcott – Ruth co-ordinates Sustain’s work on the Climate and Nature Emergency and on Sustainable Fishing, working to make food a central part of policies to tackle the climate and nature emergency at a local and national level; also to encourage businesses to adopt a fully sustainable fish policy, and thereby help transform the way the world’s oceans are fished.

James Woodward – James joined Sustain in September 2020 and works on farming policy and campaigns. Previously, he has worked in farm advice for Natural England, supporting farmers into sustainable whole farm systems. He has also worked in farming policy for Defra and the National Farmers’ Union. Alongside this, he also likes to spend time on his step-family’s Cumbrian farm.

In it together – positive ways of farming with nature under leasing and business agreements in Scotland

Hosted by the Nature Friendly Farming Network

The tenanted sector currently makes up 25% of Scottish farmland and currently many smaller-scale urban and rural growers work under a lease or business agreement across Scotland. We know that transitioning to regenerative nature friendly practices requires a commitment to long-term land-use change and that in turn, requires those who own the land to work in collaboration with those who manage the land. NFFN will be joined in this session by three successful landowner/ manager collaborations from across Fife, demonstrating what this is achieving for their individual businesses, their communities and ultimately, the climate and nature. James MacKessack- Leitch from the Scottish land Commission will also outline current opportunities supporting more of these types of partnerships and joint ventures across Scotland.

Speakers/hosts include:

Kirsty Tait – Kirsty is the Sustainable Farming Lead- Scotland for the Nature Friendly Farming Network. With a background in tenant farming, land reform and rural & urban community development, she specialises in practice and project delivery and bottom-up policy development & influence.

Claire Pollock – Claire is from Ardross Farm which is family run. Ardross Farm sits across 1,300 acres on two estates in the East Neuk, is farmed regeneratively and produces wheat, barley, oilseed rape and beans, as well as raising PFLA certified grass-fed breeding cows and sheep and free-range poultry. There are more than 40 different kinds of vegetables grown here, and these along with the award-winning beef, lamb, mutton and chicken and now honey are all produced exclusively for their award winning farm shop.

Bryde Marshall – Bryde is from Falkland Kitchen Farm. Falkland Kitchen Farmbegan in 2014 when a young couple, Bryde and Nat, moved onto a small field on the Falkland Estate with nothing more than a polytunnel, a couple of spades and a big vision. They aimed to explore ways of growing and cooking exceptional food that would connect them to the natural environment and food heritage.  Driven by a deep passion to create a vibrant food system, they are now a thriving young farm delivering our veg across Fife, Perth, and Dundee and cooking their amazing seed to plate menus at events across Scotland. 

James MacKessack-Leitch – James comes from an arable family farming background in Moray and has a range of experience in the private and public sectors as well as with voluntary organisations, not least as a former director and vice-chair of the Forres Area Community Trust. As a Policy and Practice Lead, James contributes to the Scottish Land Commission’s work on land governance, land and human rights, land access for agriculture, and Common Good land and assets.

Natural flood management walk

Hosted by the Lune Rivers Trust and FoodFutures

This natural flood management walk will show a range of techniques that can be used to slow the flow. On Backsbottom farm we have set up a trail showing restoring blanket bog, contour swales, check dams, in river training, attenuation ponds, contour grassland aeration and the use of liquid biofertilizer to encourage good soil structure. This will be a good opportunity to discuss flood management.


Speakers/hosts include:

Rod Everett – Rod has lived next to the river Roeburn for over 60 years observing it through the extreme flood in 1967 when the farmhouse was washed away along with other houses in Wray village. He is working with the Lune Rivers Trust on projects with local farmers and flood management in Lancaster in more urban settings.