Food campaigners and farming organisations have come together to support a unique agroecology learning programme led by farmers and crofters in Scotland.
Funded by the Scottish Government’s Knowledge and Innovation Fund, The Landworkers’ Alliance, Nature Friendly Farming Network, Pasture-Fed Livestock Association, Soil Association, The Food, Farming & Countryside Commission (FFCC) and Nourish Scotland will be facilitating 15 free events, online and in-person on farms and crofts, through January to March.
Farming and crofting is facing a period of transition in adopting systems and practices that help tackle both biodiversity breakdown and the climate emergency, and this unique partnership seeks to showcase how farmers and crofters can lead the way.
“At its core, agroecology is about the application of ecological principles to farming and land use,” says David McKay, Head of Policy at Soil Association.
“It ensures that land is managed in a way that delivers environmental benefits such as improved biodiversity, soil health, clean water and fresh air. On a practical level, this could mean the use of techniques such as nutrient cycling, ecological pest control and agroforestry.”
The potential of agroecology as a useful framework for furthering agricultural sustainability is gaining recognition and support, both among farmers and crofters, and within the wider industry.
Lucianne Wardle, Scotland Inquiry Facilitator at the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, says: “Agroecology and its regenerative practices present pathways for all Scottish farmers, growers, crofters and land managers to be a force for change, delivering for the nation on food security, climate adaptation and mitigation and for a flourishing natural environment, and as the backbone of thriving and resilient local economies.”
In support of growing awareness around agroecology’s benefits, this project is designed to help a wide range of farmers and crofters in sharing practical knowledge, from those already using agroecological approaches to those who are new to the concept and keen to learn more.
Nikki Yoxall, Research Coordinator at Pasture for Life Association, says: “We know that farmers and crofters really value seeing new ideas in practice, so we want to help explore new ways of doing things by showcasing the successes and learning experiences of others. There are lots of farmers and crofters in Scotland already well down the agroecological path, so connecting them with others is a really powerful way to help establish a supportive community.”
This project is part of wider collaborative work amongst partner organisations which aims to further the uptake of agroecological practices in Scotland, build an evidence base for the value of agroecology and support policy reform.
A full list of the themes and events can be found here.
If you’re interested in getting involved, contact Kirsty Tait at the Nature Friendly Farming Network firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: Kirsty Tait