National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

15 August 2013

An opportunity to learn more about agro-ecological farming and to meet the Prince of Wales proved to be a real eye-opener for YFC member Russell Carrington.

Russell, who is Vice Chair of the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, attended the Prince of Wales Food and Farming Summer School as an NFYFC representative. Held at the Organic Research centre in Berkshire, the three-day event included workshops and visits to three different farms, and ended at Highgrove for a group discussion with The Prince of Wales.

The Summer School was aimed at exploring the role of organic and agro-ecological farming as a means of being smarter about how to use nature to our advantage. A diverse mix of people attended the course – including farmers, food policy makers, government officials, university lecturers, scientists and representatives from NGOs.

The three farm visits included a tour of Chief Executive of the Soil Association Helen Browning’s 500 hectare farm. Her farm produce supplies the local pub that she also owns.

Russell (pictured right with the Price of Wales) was impressed with the operation and said: “There were several enterprises on Helen’s farm and the block rearing of free-range pork and her successful rearing of dairy calves using nurse cows was fascinating.”

The two other farms included one that was experimenting with different tillage systems for establishing their arable crops and the Duchy Home Farm in Gloucestershire to view its dairy herd, specialist arable cropping for flour production and agro-forestry trials which are integrating fruit and vegetable production.

Russell said: “All three visits were eye-opening and showed just what can be achieved by taking a fresh look at food production in the context of sustainability in its true sense. The opportunities for networking were also great and many people wanted to hear about the perspective of young farmers.”

Russell’s experience was topped off by a visit to Highgrove to meet the Prince of Wales to discuss what they had learnt during the week and to hear about everyone’s projects and initiatives.

“The Prince clearly has a deep knowledge of agriculture and we were able to discuss solutions to overcome the challenges of the future in great detail,” said Russell. “He is right behind a sustainable future for British agriculture and horticulture, hence his commitment to run this three-day course to bring together the latest thinking and distribute ideas to the participants and beyond,” said Russell.

The opportunity to send a member to this event was greatly appreciated by the Federation and it welcomes more opportunities so more members can benefit from these experiences.

If you would like to be considered for similar opportunities please contact ARAC Officer Jo Wyles.


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