Mixed farming – histories and futures
Mixed farming – growing crops as well as raising livestock – was much more common in the Dyfi Biosphere, and in Wales in general, in the past. Our aim was to build on the past, but look to the future, and help make the case for more widespread sustainable mixed agriculture and more resilient local food production economies. Central to our projects vision is the recognition that small, family farms are the cornerstone of Wales’ past, current and future rural economy, culture and landscape.
This LEADER and Ashley Family Foundation funded pilot project's (Apr 2019 to Dec 2020) aim was to map some of these changes, to illustrate what is possible and to stimulate some discussion. The principal way we did this was by integrating a variety of related online resources into an Information Gateway – a map-based portal that illustrates how agriculture has evolved in the Dyfi Biosphere area over the last 150 years or so. We also explored options for showing how modern technology can be used to indicate possibilities such as:
fields suitable for the reinstatement of historical farming activities
mapping showing key enterprises involved in producing and selling fresh local produce
crops that will grow in the future under different climate change scenarios
The full pilot PROJECT FINAL REPORT can be downloaded here
Access the information gateway
The button on the left links to a working prototype of the information gateway that we use to inform discussion and help set our direction of travel. It comprises a series of maps and other geographic information of use in understanding local agriculture from an agroecological perspective
These are turbulent times for the farming community, we want to make a small local contribution to helping address the following challenges:
Changes to the agricultural subsidy system post Brexit
Protecting our family farms, culture and encouraging rural regeneration
Climate change and biodiversity loss.
Our environment is changing; average temperatures are increasing and in the future winters will be warmer and summers drier, higher frequency of storms and sea level rises are predicted. We can anticipate global supply chains becoming more fragile and a need for greater self sufficiency.
This project advocates an Agroecological approach to sustainable farming.
Agroecology is a globally recognised term that emphasises the central importance of understanding that sustaining the productive capacity of agriculture is entirely dependent upon the continued existence of intact, functioning, healthy ecosystems.
Agroecology can be understood as a:
Science: the study of ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems
Set of practices
During 2019, the Welsh Government consulted on revised proposals for supporting Welsh farmers after Brexit. The ecodyfi response - based on agroecological principles and advocating small, mixed, diverse, family farms contributing to rural regeneration – can be downloaded here .
Collaboration with Coed Cadw / the Woodland Trust in Wales
In the second half of 2020, ecodyfi collaborated with Coed Cadw on exploring ways to fill in gaps in the historical land use record in the Dyfi Biosphere area. For more information, please follow this link