Experts to visit town to discuss future of sustainable farming

PUBLISHED: 10:49 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 08:55 31 August 2018

Graham Elliott and Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw. Picture: Nick Butcher

Graham Elliott and Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

The former leader of the Green Party and a host of farming experts are set to visit Beccles to discuss the future of sustainable farming.

Natalie Bennett is among the esteemed guests appearing at ‘Common Ground – the future of Sustainable Farming’ on Wednesday, September 12.

The free event, which will be staged at Beccles Public Hall, has been organised by mayor Elfrede Brambley-Crawshaw and councillor Graham Elliott.

Mrs Brambley-Crawshaw said: “Farming has become increasingly mechanised and intensive.

“The negative repercussions of farming so intensively are threatening our natural surroundings, our health and ultimately our ability to produce food at all.

“The Soil Association research shows us that in the ‘UK we have lost 85% of fertile topsoil since 1850 costing around £45 million per year of which £9 million is in lost production and reduced yields’.”

She added: “We need to start focussing on solutions that benefit communities and we hope this event brings together like minded individuals who want to be part of positive change.”

Local contributors include Maisebrook Farm, Hodmedod’s British Grains and Pulses, Clinks Care Farm, Greengrow co-op, Clarks Lane Orchard, Waveney Dexter Beef, Old Hall Farm Dairy and Carr Farm.

And on the night all will be exhibiting produce from stalls in the hall.

There will also be a key note speech from Natalie Bennett and a panel of sustainable farming experts chaired by food journalist Jez Fredenburgh.

Mr Elliott added: “In England we have fewer people engaged in agriculture than in any other major European country.

“There is a strong desire for, fresher, healthier and more sustainable food and there is also a strong desire of people wanting to return to the land to help produce this food.

“Sadly our planning system and land ownership patterns make this disconnect between food production and the population very hard to break.”

The event will highlight the work of farmers who are interested in producing food and other projects while also protecting and enhancing the environment.

And organisers believe it will provide the perfect opportunity for the public to hear from those “pushing boundaries” and working to “find practical solutions for one of the most important issues of our time”.

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