just transition

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.

Setting up a CSA

Hosted by the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network UK

The session will include a brief intro into why set up a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in the context of the climate crisis and the urgent need for sustainable food systems, and then move on to a speed dating style workshop where participants can move between themes where they can learn about the different aspects of setting up a CSA and leave inspired to set one up. Themes will cover issues like finances, membership, cropping plans. communications etc.

Speakers/hosts include:

Rhian Williams – Rhian completed a traineeship at Cae Tan CSA in 2019 and has just finished her first season as one of the growers at Kirkstall Valley Farm, a community-run farm and CSA right in the middle of Leeds. She organises with the LWA and is excited to be part of a movement working towards socially and environmentally just food systems.

Rebecca Stevenson – Becca is Head grower at Five Acre Community Farm, a seven-acre organic vegetable CSA founded in 2012 and supplying over 100 households.

Connie Hunter and Tom Booth – East Neuk Market Garden is a 2 acre, small-scale, agroecological farm and CSA located on the Firth of Forth in Fife, Scotland. Along with our 60 member CSA we also attend farmers markets and sell our produce to local restaurants and cafes.

Janine McMahon – Janine set up and runs an Organic CSA Farm on the outskirts of Manchester, Moss Lane Farm. They are a Sustainable Food Hub, passionate about educating people about where their food comes from and making it accessible. They produce good, healthy food directly from the farm which is affordable for all.

Christine Morrison – Christine is part of GO Local Food, based in Northumberland and operational for nearly 10 years (no small achievement!) It has been an interesting journey finding out how best to connect to disparate communities, create ownership and maintain involvement.

Mick Marston – Mick has previously worked for the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and for the Soil Association in Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. He is a founder member of Gibside Community Farm CSA

Suzy Russell – Suzy is coordinator of the CSA Network UK. She has a background in community development, arts and environment and is passionate about local food.

Building a vibrant workforce in our landscapes

Hosted by the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission

A land and nature skills service for Cumbria: What’s already happening, what’s possible and where are the gaps? We will be focusing on mapping initiatives in Cumbria and Northern England.

Highly skilled people are needed to enable a transition to regenerative and holistic farming approaches and deliver on national (and even international) priorities in the context of the multiple and interlinked biodiversity, climate and health crises. Access to knowledge, learning, training and employment are vital to ensure a just transition.

In Cumbria, the need for training and employment is framed by the loss of Newton Rigg College, the need to support farmers to transition to new policy focused on public goods delivery, and the need to deliver on other policy priorities such as green recovery, net zero carbon and nature recovery.

We have been in a process of codesign since October 2020 and have begun scoping what’s needed to deliver land- and nature- based skills training and learning in Cumbria. This has led to a proposal for a Land and nature skills Service for Cumbria, which could act as a central hub of information, support increased delivery and act as an intermediary between policy priorities and capacity for delivery locally. This would support people wanting to join the sector and those already in it to access information, resources and contacts they need.

We would like to map the current/developing initiatives and discuss what the opportunities, challenges and gaps are in the proposed Land and Nature Skills Service. This will help to widen the scoping process and what we need to consider for delivery.

Through this session we hope there will be shared insight and connections into what opportunities are available, contributions of what people know is already happening and identifying the key gaps we need to fill. Some questions we might ask for input on include:
– Are there agroecological skills initiatives you know about or are part of?
– Are there some peer to peer learning networks, more formal training delivery or apprenticeships, amongst many other mechanisms of sharing knowledge, that we should all know about?
– Are there projects you’re aware of which need more people working on the land?

This co-creation session links to our in-person session at the NRFC gathering in Lancaster (2/3 December), where we will continue to build on the mapping and identify the gaps/challenges/opportunities which are emerging from our work together. The outputs will be made available to attendees and will feed into a wider scoping and delivery process, which we hope will enable more good work to happen across the sector.

Speakers/hosts include:

Hannah Field – Hannah Coordinates the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission’s (FFCC) Cumbria Inquiry and is a PhD Student at the University of Cumbria, researching Common Land. Hannah has spent the last 10 years in Cumbria, having worked for Forestry England, run her own business in wool craftwork, as well as studying at the University (BSc (Hons) in Animal Conservation Science and PGDip Ecosystem Services Evaluation). Her research and practical interests are in how diverse perspectives and values in land management can be brought together for social and ecological benefit through place-based decision-making.

Hannah is also passionate about wool and natural fibres grown regeneratively in the UK. She also develops regenerative livelihood programmes and helps with horticulture and livestock on a permaculture smallholding.

Julia Aglionby – Julia chairs the FFCC Cumbria Inquiry as Professor in Practice at the University of Cumbria. Other ‘hats’ include; Executive Director of the Foundation for Common Land, Chair of the Uplands Alliance and she is a practicing Rural Chartered Surveyor and Agricultural Valuer. Julia was a Board Member of Natural England from 2014 – 2019. She worked from 1993-2001 as an environmental economist on National Park projects in Indonesia and the Philippines. Julia has a keen interest in land tenure and her PhD was entitled Governance of Common Land in National Parks: Plurality and Purpose.

Julia lives in the Eden Valley, Cumbria with her family at Susan’s Farm; an organic Care Farm of which she is a Trustee and where she enjoys working on the farm.

Sam Beaumont – Sam is from Wilder Gowbarrow. Gowbarrow Hall Farm is a family run farm on the south facing shores of Ullswater in the Lake District. The farm is under the management of Sam and Claire Beaumont, as the third generation. “We are passionate about maintaining the natural beauty of the landscape and enriching the wildlife that falls within it. We are caring for the environment and are conscious of how farming fits within the wider global issues that our planet is facing.”

Wilder Gowbarrow is part of our mission to improve the sustainability of our farm business as well as our environment. It is a joint project between Gowbarrow Hall Farm and Wilderculture C.I.C.

The aim of the project is to operate a hybrid of ‘rewilding’ and regenerative farming, restore nature and landscape function while also contributing significantly to sustainable nutrition security and farm profitability by producing high quality 100% grass fed meats. This is a first for the UK uplands and aims to demonstrate that we can produce a sustainable supply of nutrient rich healthy foods from land that is unsuitable for plant food production.



Carol Moffat (also joined by Veronica Waller and Kate Gascoyne), The Farmer Network

About the Farmer Network: The Farmer Network Ltd is a farmer owned not-for-profit Company, limited by guarantee. We have over 1,100 farmer members and our mission is to help sustain our members’ businesses and maintain the environment, landscape and rural communities of Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales.  The Farmer Network provides a range of services including fuel buying and organising training courses and workshops for farmers.  We also apply for funding for projects that support farmers including those that help young people develop a farming related business, improve animal health and providing advice to farmers during the agricultural transition. www.thefarmernetwork.co.uk/

About Carol: Carol works for the Farmer Network as a project manager and the local coordinator for the Yorkshire Dales.  She manages a variety of projects including coordinating the Swaledale Facilitation Fund and a project supporting farmers in the Westmorland Dales.  She farms at Garsdale and is also Secretary of Baugh Fell Commoners Association and the local branch of the North of England Mule Association.

Charlotte Bickler – Charlotte leads the Knowledge Exchange and Policy team at the Organic Research Centre, ensuring that ORC’s research gets out to its key stakeholders in the best format possible. She is based in West Yorkshire and has worked as a researcher at the ORC, Kew Gardens and The University of Bristol. Most recently, she has studied the application of evolutionary breeding within organic systems and developed an on-farm organic variety testing network (now a DEFRA funded project, LiveWheat) with her ORC Crops Team colleagues, Organic Arable and a group of participatory farmers. She has also coordinated knowledge exchange and on-farm trials of crop mixtures and worked to understand the enablers required to deliver crop diversification in European agriculture. She is working to develop local hubs built around Organic Principles and practices via the Organic at the Heart project which developed out of the NRFC20 session that she led (www.organicresearchcentre.com/our-research/research-project-library/organic-at-the-heart/).

David Harpley – David is the Conservation Manager at the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, where they have run many traineeships, apprenticeships and studentships.

The Trust has hosted Countryside Apprenticeships for many years, which have trained local young people to become Cumbria’s newest countryside rangers at the National Trust, John Muir Trust and North Pennines AONB etc, as well as postgraduate training that helped others progress to roles with the British Antarctic Survey, Fisheries Authority and many other leading organisations.

The Trust also hosts sandwich year placements from the University of Cumbria and research students from a range of universities.