Sunday 19 March 10.30am – 4.30 pm at Glastonbury Town Hall
NEW FIVE-MILE ECO FOOD GROWING PROJECT WILL FUTURE-PROOF LOCAL FOOD SECURITY AND PROTECT WILDLIFE
A ground-breaking initiative to bring healthier food and nature-friendly farming to Somerset, is to be launched in Glastonbury Town Hall on 19th March, at a People’s Assembly, which any interested member of the public is invited to take part in.
Called Avalon 5FF (or ‘5FF’ for short), the project will focus on a ‘5-mile food and farming area’ around Glastonbury, where food growers – amateur and professional – will be encouraged to adopt ‘agroecological’ (more nature-friendly) farming and food growing methods.
In the build-up to the launch, a pilot project has been running. This has involved five councils, five conservation organisations and five farmers and growers. Working together over five months, they have trialed a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) toolkit which supports food growers and farmers to become more sustainable, productive and resilient, using agroecological methods.
Agroecology can help in nature recovery by phasing out reliance on chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fossil fuels and other increasingly costly artificial inputs. As the world faces a climate emergency, there’s strong evidence that more natural farming methods can provide a more secure food supply, while bringing wildlife back to the countryside and helping secure more jobs and the financial viability of small and medium-sized farms.
Agroecological methods of food production can help restore balance and health to the land. Their focus on building organic matter in the soil means more carbon can be sequestered than in conventional farming.
Melissa Taylor, Glastonbury Town Council’s Climate Emergency and Resilience Officer said:
“This is partly about mitigating climate change, but it’s also about anticipating and adapting to changes in our weather and everything that comes with it. We’re right on the edge of the Somerset Levels here so have a strong awareness of what sea level rises could do. What is perhaps less widely understood is the potential impact of biodiversity decline on our food supply, especially when combined with future weather extremes.”
Since 2016 the French government has promoted these methods and they are now on track to achieving 200,000 agroecological holdings by 2025. Although the UK, as a whole, is some way behind the French, the West Country has been leading the way in developing nature- friendly farming methods for a number of years, helped by the work of the national Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), which has its roots here.
With the 5FF pilot project now nearing completion, organisers are inviting anyone with an interest in growing, cooking and eating healthy, more nature-friendly food to come along to the launch event to find out more and get involved.
The event will run from 10.30am until 4.30pm on 19th March at Glastonbury Town Hall, featuring an inspiring range of short presentations about local food, including feedback from local growers and nature organisations involved in the pilot. The Peoples’ Assembly format for the event encourages idea sharing and participative decision making, and will be professionally facilitated by the Deputy Mayor of Glastonbury, Indra Donfrancesco.
Deputy Mayor Indra Donfrancesco added:
“Whether you’re an allotment holder, a hundred-acre farmer, school cook or window box herb grower, we would love to hear your views. We really want the whole community getting involved and being part of this ‘movement’ in favour of a more nature-friendly and locally-focused food system.”
Eventbrite online invitation to 5FF launch event:
To book a place please use the Eventbrite link above or contact:
email@example.com or phone Sarah Hallam on 01458-831769
For further information, please contact:
Melissa Taylor, Climate Emergency & Resilience Officer, Glastonbury Town Council: W: https://glastonbury.gov.uk/glastonbury-climate-emergency-resilience/
T: 01458 333140 M: 07516 239185