Origins of an idea

Why it all started by Adam Lockyear.

Over the last couple of years I have begun to start each year by attending the Oxford Real Farming Conference ( It was set up as an alternative look at the future of agriculture whilst the official Oxford Farming Conference was taking place next door. 10 years on it now attracts over 1,300 people from all walks of the farming community and has captured political interest as well with the Secretary of State for Defra giving a keynote speech. It is an inspiring start to the year that I carry with me right through the seasons.

As quoted on their website at its heart “is the dream of Agrarian Renaissance: to restore agriculture and all that goes with it to its proper place at the heart of the economy, and indeed of all our lives. Agriculture at present, and farmers, are marginalised. The thing that matters most for humankind is low on the global agenda.”

At the conference I have had the opportunity to talk to and to be inspired by many Community Supported Agriculture enterprises ( They show how taking a shared ownership in the production of food in the local community can re-engage people in the land bringing them into closer contact with not only food and the risks and rewards invested in producing it but also the environment that it is also responsible for creating.

The world does not have a food security problem in the way it is often described. We produce enough to feed 11bn people. Food equitability in terms of how it is distributed and its nutritional value is the greater challenge. Even in the sixth richest nation in the world we have problems with the fair distribution of food and there are ways to solve this. The National Food Strategy captures this perfectly (

The way we produce our food also has to have greater consideration of the wider impacts on and beyond the farm. Transitioning our farming system towards regenerative farming practices that consider soil health and function, biodiversity, the welfare of the animals we farm and the people who farm the land and live in the communities farming supports through: jobs and food provision is critical to solving the climate and ecological emergencies we hear so much about. The RSAs Food, Farming and Countryside Commission sets out these solutions in their report “Our Future in the Land”. (

Although only a small step in solving these problems bringing together the community of Wellington and its surrounds to produce some of its food in a way that: regenerates our natural environment, provides healthy food and gives all members of the community access to benefit from this resource we can feel that we are contributing to our collective future.

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