Working with our family arable farm in the Cambridgeshire Fens various challenges, in particular blackgrass, inspired me to look at how we can be better use ecology to reduce our reliance on inputs and create a more sustainable agroecosystem. I went on to study for an MSc Agroecology, to learn more in field trials, greenhouses and the lab. However, working with farmers who are innovating with agroecology is what really inspires me.
On Ferry Farm we are now collaborating with a neighbouring dairy farmer and sheep farmer to create a more diverse rotation and capture the benefits of mixed farming; including using leys, returning manure and digestate to the soil and this year experimenting with a small area of heritage grains and a genetically diverse winter wheat population. I now realise that this is a process of change at a whole system level and it will not happen overnight. But we are on our way! I see Agricology as a platform to support farmers on this journey. To bridge the gap between science and practice, to provide research in a clear and relevant format and a space for farmers, organic and conventional, to share practical advice and inspiration.
I am delighted to be the Knowledge Exchange Manager for Agricology and to continue to grow this excellent initiative.