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Groundswell 2023

By Alex Briggs - 27 June 2023

In June, some of the Weald to Waves team travelled up to Hertfordshire to attend Groundswell, a festival dedicated to celebrating and sharing knowledge on regenerative agriculture.

Affectionately known as the ‘Glastonbury for regenerative agriculture’, it is an increasingly popular convergence of people from various sectors, all working toward nature-positive food production and land management.

The talks and stalls represented a wide range of viewpoints from farmers and suppliers, alongside conservationists, researchers, and charities, all joining together in shared discussions around how to increase the sustainability of agriculture. We heard about issues ranging from soil health, and ways to measure and mitigate the impact of human activities on soil, to using acoustic recordings and artificial intelligence to monitor wildlife species, to how natural capital can support the future of farming, partially from Ivan de Klee, who played an important role in the formation of Weald to Waves.

There were talks from the researchers Professor Mike Berners-Lee on the climate emergency and the impacts for farming, and Professor Dave Goulson on the dramatic declines of insects. Both highlighted the pressures facing our landscape, and emphasised the importance of the various forms of regenerative agriculture.

The day was topped off with Libby Drew (director of Knepp Wildland Foundation), James Baird (farmer and W2W founding member) and Charles Burrell (Knepp Estate and W2W founding member) on stage at Speakers’ Corner tent in an open conversation about the Weald to Waves project. They discussed the role of wildlife corridors in nature recovery, mapping technologies and how to consider connectivity for both wildlife and people across our landscapes. The tent was packed and the quality of discussion, both during the Q&A and in follow up conversations, was heartening.

We came away from Groundswell with a stronger sense of camaraderie and confidence that there is a diverse land management community committed to sustainability, climate resilience and biodiversity. If we can continue to work together, then regenerative agriculture will play a vital part in ensuring that we can achieve nature recovery, swiftly and at scale.

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