Agricology Partners Rally to Respond to COVID-19
AGRICOLOGY PARTNERS RALLY TO SHARE PRACTICAL, SUSTAINABLE FARMING TECHNIQUES IN THE WAKE OF CORONAVIRUS SOCIAL DISTANCING MEASURES
Thursday 16th April 2020
The rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 is necessitating huge shifts in how people communicate and connect with one another. It also enhances the risk of social isolation, an issue already of great concern in the farming community. We know how good the farming world are at uniting in adversity, but this requires a different approach. So, are farmers going stir crazy in the tractor cab and the lambing barn? For many it will not be much different to business as usual. However, a few weeks down the line, will farmers be longing for an opportunity to go to the County Show, the Cereals conference, Groundswell, NOCC, or visit another farm, in an annual scout for inspiration, innovation and a connection to the wider industry? We face weeks if not months without the conviviality of these events.
Agricology offers isolating farmers the opportunity to connect with other farmers and researchers to learn more about making their farming systems more sustainable and resilient. This free online resource allows farmers and researchers to share their knowledge and experiences so others can learn from their successes and mistakes as they transition to more sustainable farming systems.
As events across the country are cancelled and postponed Agricology will work with our partners to take farm walks, shows, conferences and meetings into the digital world. Bringing together farmers, researchers and advisors in conversation – on webinars, videos and podcasts. This will include a series of ‘virtual field days’ focused on different practices and themes over the coming months. All manner of discussion over soil pits, herbal leys, tilling techniques and cover crops are heading into the ether! These events will be run in partnership with organisations including, but not limited to: Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF), Championing the Farmed Environment (CFE), the Farm & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Duchy College, Rothamsted Research, The University of Reading, The Organic Research Centre (ORC), Organic Farmers & Growers (OF&G) and the National Institute of Agriculture and Botany (NIAB).
Joined up approach
Agricology is a collaboration of key industry organisations including research, advice and farmer networks. Agricology was formed to bring together the latest knowledge and experience on practical, sustainable farming across the sector to make it more accessible for the farming community. In March, a vital Steering Group conference call brought 25 Agricology partners together to consider a united solution and enable virtual alternatives in light of social distancing. While COVID-19 is a current threat, other challenges are still ever present such as the hangover from unprecedented rainfall over the last six months. Agricology will help equip farmers with tools to make their farms more resilient.
Free online information
In the four years since Agricology was formed, a wealth of digital information for farmers has already been compiled including nearly 300 YouTube videos, podcasts, and a range of digital resources across the entire spectrum of agroecological practices, from over 120 contributory institutions, in addition to active discussions on social media @agricology.
Leaders in the field
In May, Agricology is due to start an Environmental Land Management Scheme Test, with the University of Reading, to research the effectiveness of video and podcast in farmer knowledge exchange, such is the appetite by Defra to understand what digital mechanisms will encourage farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices.
Agricology welcomes farmers and organisations to share their plans for virtual events, videos and podcasts to share with the farming community. Get in touch on email@example.com
NOTES TO EDITORS
Contact: Lydia Lishman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Agricology is a knowledge exchange network whose purpose is to provide an interface between farmers, researchers and farming organisations. The project was set up in 2015 and is run by three core organisations: the Daylesford Foundation, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Allerton Project and the Organic Research Centre. Agricology is a collaboration of +40 partner organisations. Our partners include research organisations, academic institutions and professional advisors in the farming sector who contribute content online and in the field at events. The organisations have an annual event to discuss the project strategy and achievements, and a monthly call to share ideas.