Beyond the Possible
Expanding the Boundaries of Farming and Crofting
“That’ll never work here” is a phrase we have said and heard more than once. Our free webinar series introduces farmers, crofters, foresters, and pioneers – from Orkney to Oxfordshire – who have broken through the obstacles of terrain, climate, poor soil, and short growing season to produce great food in harmony with the natural world.
Watch all the webinars below or check them out on our youtube channel:
Every session is followed by Q & A! Get ready to be inspired!
Tuesday November 1st
Restorative Continuous Grain Cropping Using Heritage Cereals
John Letts has achieved what has been referred to as “the holy grail” of cereal production: no-input, no-till, no-stock, no-break cropping. John farms in Oxfordshire and is also the founder of the Heritage Grain Trust demonstrating that UK farmers can produce all the grain we need whilst improving soil health, increasing biodiversity, and sequestering greenhouse gasses.
Tuesday November 8th
Prof. Amir Kassam
Parking the Plough: No-till, permanent ground cover, & crop diversification as tenets of Conservation Agriculture
Continuous no-till, permanent ground cover, and diversified cropping are concepts that have been around for years, and yet bare ploughed fields are still the norm in UK autumnal farmscapes. Fears of scruffy fields, weeds, and pests have put farmers off the methods that promise healthier soils and landscapes, higher yields, reduced costs, and greater profit. Agroecologist, Prof. Amir Kassam, discusses why we can no longer ignore the global success of Conservation Agriculture.
Thursday November 10th
Dr. Pete Iannetta
The Puzzle and Paradox of Legume-Based Food Systems
Despite their ability to biologically fix nitrogen in the soil thereby eliminating the need for mineral-nitrogen fertiliser, legume supported cropping systems are rare in the UK, and legumes grown for human consumption are especially novel. Dr Pete Iannetta, based in the Agroecology Group of the James Hutton Institute, will talk about the group’s aim to improve and expand the production and consumption of legumes, with special regard to the Scottish bean.
Tuesday November 15th
Michelle & Robert Sullivan
From the Ground-Up: Developing a thriving horticulture business with no prior experience.
Around 6 years ago, dreaming of the agrarian lifestyle, Robert and Michelle Sullivan rented one acre of land in rural Aberdeenshire. From having no background in farming, no growing experience, and an “extreme dislike of mud”, they have now upscaled to 10 acres and have a thriving, stockfree organic food production business that supplies the offshore catering industry. Listen to their story of trial and error and of the business acumen that led them to success.
Thursday November 17th
A Farmer’s Perspective on Sustainable and Profitable Farming with
Tony Reynolds farms 3000 acres in South Lincolnshire and Rutland. He started experimenting with Conservation Agriculture (no-till) in 1998 in an attempt to prevent diverse pollution damaging the river Eye. Tony is a Farmers’ Weekly Barometer Farmer and hosts visits to the farm from parties from all round the world. He is pleased to demonstrate and explain every step he has made, the problems encountered, the change to the soil, and the output over time.
Tuesday November 22nd
Overcoming Difficulties: Nature rich food production in marginal areas.
Wind, low temperatures, snow, rain, drought, and soils of low capability are some of the factors that limit plant-based food production and nature rich diversification in marginal areas. Mark Dickinson, an enterprising crofter from Orkney, demonstrates that with surprisingly minimal effort, low inputs, small-scale technology, and basic machinery — dynamic and resilient nature rich food production can be achieved — even in the harshest of climates.
Tuesday November 29th
Alison & John Easson
Hemp It Up!
John and Alison Easson have been growing hemp for two years at their farm near Kirriemuir in Angus. They are part of an informal network of 11 Scottish growers who support one another in the growing process and in navigating Home Office approval. Alison has taken marketing into her own hands by starting her own business, ‘Hemp it up!’, which produces culinary hemp seed oil and related products.
Thursday December 1st
Natural Methods of Pest Control and Self-Sufficient Soil Fertility
A legend and global authority in the world of stockfree organic growing, Iain Tolhurst shares his 34-years of experience of turning 19 acres of “building rubble” into a powerhouse of vegetable production to the tune of 120 tonnes a year. Using a ‘systems approach’, the farm generates all its own fertility and controls potential pests naturally through the creation of diverse and dynamic habitats. With a carbon footprint that equates to that of an average UK household, Tolhurst Organic is the gold standard for future farming.
Tuesday December 6th
Angus Dixon &
James Hepburne Scott
To Tree, Or Not To Tree…
Forestry and agroforestry are becoming increasingly popular choices as the farming sector takes up the net zero challenge. The Forestry Grant Scheme offers numerous options but what type of plantation is best for your land? Should you be going for timber or carbon credits; or both? What are carbon credits anyway and how do they work? Independent forester, Angus Dixon, and James Hepburne Scott of Forest Carbon demystify the process.