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 is 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 (Apr 2019 to Dec 2020) aims to map some of these changes, to illustrate what is possible and to stimulate some discussion. The principal way we are doing this is 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 are also exploring 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

Access the information gateway

The button on the left links to a working prototype (under development) 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

Changing environment

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.

Agroecology

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:

  1. Science: the study of ecological processes applied to agricultural production systems

  2. Set of practices

  3. Social movement

 

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 .

Contact us and/or feedback to the project team

The information presented through this project is potentially of interest to quite a wide audience. However, the novel coronavirus has put paid to many of our plans for engaging with various communities. If you have the time and are inclined to help shape future developments, please follow this link to fill in a short questionnaire.

 

The project manager can be contacted at the following email address: chris AT higgins D0T myzen D0T co D0T uk

Project partners:

The project is a collaboration between ecodyfi, Environment Systems Ltd, Aberystwyth University  and the National Library of Wales

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