21Aug10 Future Farming South West Conference

dansunrise2009 dansunrise at gmail.com
Fri Jul 30 17:39:49 BST 2010

Future Farming South West Conference
August 21st 2010
Fernhill Farm, Nr Cheddar, Mendip Hills
Conference: 10am - 7pm


Announcing the Future Farming South West Conference

Saturday August 21st will see the inaugural Future Farming South West Conference held at Fernhill Farm in the Mendip Hills. The conference will examine the potentials of ecological diversification of farms and estates, low carbon food production and the wider benefits of sustainable land management. 

Featuring a host of presenters from across the farming world, as well as from renewable energy, waste management and environmental technology groups, the Conference will look at ways in which farmers and estate managers can diversify activity on their land to bring wider economic, social and environmental benefits.

Sessions throughout the day will look at energy generation from sources as diverse as solar, wind and anaerobic digestion; waste processing; education programmes; tourism activities and local food production. The day will end with a debate about the future of the County Farms Estate in Somerset, asking whether the County Council is making the right move in selling off these assets or whether a sustainable asset management programme would make more sense. Representatives from across the farming and rural sector will be taking part.

Fernhill Farm, the venue for the event, is a farm well acquainted with ecological diversification, itself having installed a plethora of technologies and techniques including woodfuel boilers, rainwater harvesting and a landmark WET system for all liquid waste. The farm has become a venue for successful environmental events and regular educational and corporate groups. Farm Tours will be occurring throughout the day.

Organiser Daniel Hurring says: "We see the conference as an essential networking event for all those interested in the future of farming in the South West. We are facing a time of unparalleled uncertainty for the agricultural sector in the UK in the face of looming economic, climate and fossil fuel crises. The conference will provide a forum for the discussion of ideas related to low-carbon and sustainable farming, and ways to bring greater financial security to the industry." He continues, "Fernhill Farm is a living example of what is possible for farmers with the investment of a bit of time, money and energy, and a lot of belief!" 

Currently confirmed attendees include Good Energy - a renewable energy company dedicated to micro-generation of electricity; FWAG; Mendip AONB; Biologic Design - creator of WET systems; Eco-Engineering of Stroud and Somerset Land and Food who will be launching their Food Mapper Project. There will also be a full programme of speakers present and representatives from major farming bodies.

The event will run from 10am to 7pm and costs £15. The conference is held as part of the wider Off-Grid Conference Camp taking place on the farm over the weekend to which families are welcome (Day ticketed children at no additional price). Attractions include a vintage fair, kids area, organic cafes, stalls and exhibitions, talks, practical workshops and live music and performance. Food and Drink will be available all day, including local cider and ales, plus tasty meals from the Fernhill Farm kitchen.

For directions and other info, please visit www.fernhill-farm.co.uk
For information on Off-Grid, please visit www.sunrise-offgrid.co.uk/future-farms.php
General Enquiries: Daniel Hurring - 07792 353864 / dan at sunrisecelebration.com
Venue and Farming Enquiries: 07903 584695 or 07712 616797 / Andy at fernhill-farm.co.uk 
Press Enquiries: Katherine Ritchie - 07505 197554 / kat at sunrisecelebration.com


	•	10am Introduction to the Conference
	•	10.15am Introduction to Fernhill Farm with Andy Wear
	•	10.30am Morning Session: Energy & Waste 
	•	12.30pm Lunch Break
	•	1.30pm Early Afternoon Session: Education & Tourism 
	•	3pm Later Afternoon Session: Sustainable Food Production & New models of farming
	•	4.30pm Early Evening: The Big Debate: The Future of the County Farms in Somerset
	•	6.30pm Film: A Farm for the Future (Possibly introduced by BBC Producer Rebecca Hosking)

The Big Debate: County Farms in Somerset

The Big Debate will be looking at the future of the County Farms Estate in Somerset. The Conference aims to bring together many of the important voices in the debate to discuss the best ways forward in light of Somerset County Council's decision to pursue the farm-by-farm review with a view to sale of the full portfolio. The debate will be asking whether the current proposed strategy is the correct one, or whether a sustainable asset management strategy could be used instead, as is the case in many surrounding counties. In the light of the potentials and benefits of diversification, as demonstrated at the conference, the challenges facing the domestic farming sector and the rising issue of food security in the UK, the debate will also consider whether a united voice can be found and what action, if any, is appropriate to take.

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list