Editor's blog - Our first newsletter and 'Agricology in the Field'!
24 May 2017
Welcome to the first ‘Editor’s blog’ and first Agricology newsletter - a double treat! You will be only too aware of the major challenges farmers and growers across the UK face; soil degradation, herbicide and antibiotic resistance, climate unpredictability, rising input costs, an increasing demand for food production and a pressing need for more ‘healthy’ food systems, to name just some of them…
Soil, crop, animal and human health are paramount and all are interlinked. As put forward in 'Agroecology in Action’, “Agroecology is concerned with the maintenance of a productive agriculture that sustains yields and optimizes the use of local resources while minimizing the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of modern technologies.” Within Agricology we endeavour to promote an agroecological farming approach, through highlighting findings and practices from the broad cross-section of farming (‘regardless of labels’); placing the importance on what you can learn from them and apply to your own farming system and the resources available to you. An emphasis on diversity and innovation as well as building on, or maybe even re-learning some of the older principles and practices associated with when people were perhaps more closely connected to the land, seems to be more important now than ever.
The overriding aim of Agricology is that it serves as a mechanism to engage as many ‘on the ground’ people as possible in coming together in sharing practices, experiences and research that will help us move forward in productive farming, whilst protecting and nurturing the wider environment and helping to secure a bright future for the vital ecosystem services that man and animalkind need in order to survive and thrive.
We work to support you in making your farm businesses more profitable, productive and sustainable through using agroecological practices. We can only do this through engaging with the ever increasing ‘Agricology community’; the many hugely important partners involved within the project, the growing number of farmers, growers and researchers whose invaluable experiences and knowledge are shared through the library of resources, the farmer profiles and guest blogs, and through encouraging wider conversation via social media.
Another important way we can help communicate key messages, explore agroecological practices and principles, and you can engage with the Agricology community, is through joining us at our own and partner’s events. Next month, there will be a unique chance to explore agroecology being applied in the field in the free joint Agricology Field Day and 25-year celebration being held at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s (GWCT) Allerton project near Loddington. Amelia Woolford, from the GWCT, tells you about it and how you can book your place on it in her blog just hot off the press...
The content in this month’s newsletter links directly with the diversity of topics that will be focused on within the event; from exploring the effects of a no till system and cover crops on soil quality, ways of managing soil to improve soil biota, and the potential of combining trees and sheep, to controlling crop pests and encouraging beneficial insects, conservation management practices to encourage biodiversity and pollinators, and improving water quality and catchment.
Going forward, the newsletters will highlight the website content focused on seasonally relevant and topical monthly themes, such as enhancing soil biology, pest and disease management, and planning crop rotations, along with updates on news and events. This will all be brought together with a monthly editor’s blog, so look out for it! During June, we will be focusing particularly on integrating livestock in crop-based systems and livestock breeds suitable for low input systems. If you would like to share your insights with the agricultural community, please get in touch with us. We hope you enjoy exploring this month’s newsletter, selected to give you tasters of the many useful blogs, profiles and resources available to you on the site.
Janie Caldbeck is the Content Editor for Agricology.
Header image: Pollinator flower mix at the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust Allerton Project demonstration farm, Loddington. Photo credit: Rachel Lewis