Down to Earth

Project Background

The Down to Earth explores approaches being used to transition towards no / low input farming methods whilst highlighting the potential for agroecological innovation.

It is a collaboration between Agricology, RuralPod Media and Down to Earth Media and focuses on promoting sustainable agricultural practices being used on the Waddesdon Estate and beyond.

The project was generously funded by the Rothschild Foundation.

Aims & Approach

  • Encouraging sustainable farming practices – The Down to Earth project set out to inspire a wide ranging audience of farmers and advisors to embrace no / low input farming techniques. By showcasing how farmers are transitioning to these methods, the project seeks to demonstrate their feasibility and efficacy in improving soil health, environmental sustainability and resilience on farms.
  • Highlighting agroecological innovation on the Waddesdon Estate – Central to the project’s strategy is to demonstrate the adoption of new agroecological strategies at the Waddesdon Estate. By implementing innovative practices and fostering a holistic approach to farm management, the Estate farming team hope to positively influence the wider agricultural community, advocating for the future of sustainable farming systems.
  • Sharing best practices locally – The project recognises the importance of tailoring sustainable farming solutions to local contexts. By providing specific examples of best practices tailored to the unique local soil conditions, the project aims to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration amongst local farmers, providing a environment that can support sustainable transition within the region

Project outputs


The Down to Earth project followed the farming team at the Waddesdon Estate across the seasons in 2023 to capture and highlight their efforts across Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire throughout 2023. Four short films share the practices and transformative approaches employed by the dedicated team at the Waddesdon Estate as they embark on a journey of trial and transition towards regenerative agriculture and look to improve the resilience of their farms….

From the careful management of soils to the art of composting, each episode offers a window into the estate’s commitment to nurturing the land and fostering sustainability. Witness the collaborative efforts with Wildfarmed at their Kingsland Farm, delving into innovative techniques aimed at restoring biodiversity and enhancing soil health. See a snapshot of the exciting approaches being used at Wild Ken Hill with Nick Padwick, exploring the effects of his innovative strategies and how they fed into his management of the estate’s land at Kingsland Farm in 2023. Experience vibrant community engagement as the initiatives aimed at supporting the estate’s environmental goals and fostering partnerships with local farmer clusters, environmental groups and agricultural organisations are highlighted. Through knowledge exchange and shared practices, witness the collective efforts to shape a more sustainable future for farming.

From monitoring biodiversity to fostering dialogue within the local farming community, each film in this series is a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and stewardship in cultivating a more resilient tomorrow for agriculture and the environment.

Watch the four short films here…


Getting Started with Regenerative Agriculture

The ‘Getting Started with Regenerative Agriculture’ event, hosted by Agricology on 23/05/23 at the Waddesdon Estate, brought together farmers, growers, and industry professionals for a day of insightful discussions and practical advice. Led by GWCT‘s Alice Midmer, the event explored the principles of regenerative agriculture, emphasising environmental stewardship and system improvement. Fabia Bromovsky introduced the Global Farm Metric tool to measure progress and challenges.

Farmers Phil White, Nick Down, and Matthew Izod shared their experiences of adopting regenerative agricultural practices, while Tim Coates provided financial insights. Defra delivered a talk on the latest updates to SFI and Stephen Briggs concluded with success stories and economic models linked to large-scale agroforestry. Attendees engaged in breakout sessions, highlighting challenges and priorities for the year ahead. The event offered a platform for learning, networking, and inspiration, setting the stage for continued exploration and implementation of regenerative practices in farming communities.

Watch the presentations from the day here…

Soils Day

The ‘Soils Day’ event was held at Waddesdon Estate on 11/10/23 and was delivered in partnership between Agricology and the River Thame Conservation Trust. The event showcased innovative techniques for restoring soil health through composting at different scales and through cultural practices. Over 50 farmers, land managers, and professionals gathered to learn and share experiences.

Presentations by Tom Knowles and Olly Pemberton highlighted composting methods at varying scales, emphasising the importance of reducing synthetic inputs and enhancing soil microbial activity. Niels Corfield’s keynote speech emphasised the role of healthy soils in maximising water retention and farm productivity. Insights from the Pilio Group underscored the significance of ecological baselines and net zero goals in sustainable land management. Discussions centred on scalability, equipment sharing, and neighbour materials swaps. The event celebrated sustainable farming practices and the community’s commitment to soil health. Special thanks go to the hosts Waddesdon Estates and all speakers for their contributions to an informative and inspiring event.


Rothschild Foundation
River Thame Conservation Trust

Associated Agricology Partner Organisation(s):

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