This year’s Groundswell Festival will feature over 100 sessions and 200 speakers, organisers have announced.

The regenerative agriculture-focused event aims to answer some of the questions raised by industry relating to regenerative agriculture.

The event, which will take place at Lannock Manor Farm in Hertfordshire on June 28-29, will include discussions of a variety of topics including soil health, water systems, fibre farming, nutrition, supply chains and landscape-scale regeneration.

Organisers said the discussions will answer industry questions through “open discussion and shared experiences”.

This includes linking soil health and vegetable production, establishing agroforestry systems, landscape recovery, integrated pest and disease management and governmental policies.

A list of the discussion topics include:

  • ‘Is it time to certify regenerative agriculture?’;
  • ‘What Your Food Ate’;
  • ‘Why Won’t the UK State Take Food – Not Just Farming – Seriously?’;
  • ‘Human Scale Regenerative Farming’.

Discussions will also be held around issues concerning livestock. These will include ‘Climate Friendly Sheep Farming’; ‘An Introduction to Pasture for Life’; ‘Mob Grazing’; ‘Regenerative Grazing for Dairy‘; ‘Mobile Abattoir Demo’; ‘Pastured Poultry Profits’; and ‘Integrating Animals into Arable Systems’.

Tickets are available via the Groundswell Festival website and those interested are urged to order tickets as soon as possible, as they are on a first-come basis and the event has sold out for the last two years consecutively, organisers warned.

Key discussions

Journalist and publisher Rosie Boycott will host the discussion on the certification of regenerative agriculture. Her panel will debate and discuss options for the future.

The panel will include chief executive of the Soil Association, Helen Browning; farm manager at Whitbread Farms in Bedfordshire, Mike Purnell; biochemist and deputy chair of the Environment Agency, Judith Batchelar OBE; and ecology, social and governance advisor, Catherine Chong.

Image: Groundswell Festival 2022

‘What Your Food Ate’ will be hosted by Anne Bikle at the main stage located in festival marquee, the ‘Big Top’.

The panel discussion will be centred around how the roots of good health start on farms. Bikle will explore the long-running partnership through which crops and soil life nourish on another.

Prof. Tim Lang at University of London’s centre for food policy will discuss ‘Why Won’t the UK State Take Food – Not Just Farming – Seriously?’.

The discussion aims to explore UK food resilience and security, food politics and whether the UK can grow more food from its own resources.

‘Human Scale Regenerative Farming’, hosted by Richard Perkins of Ridgedale Farm, will focus on his approach to land planning, economics and management.

A ‘form of collaboration’

“When we first launched Groundswell Festival, seven years ago, we only hoped we would be bringing together over 200 speakers and 100 sessions, most of which have been self-designed by the speakers and organisations,” a spokesperson for the festival said.

“This form of collaboration is what makes Groundswell Festival so special, ensuring it continues to remain a farming-led event, encompassing all aspects of regenerative agriculture.

Image: Groundswell Festival 2022

“With even more people planning to stay for the full two days and camp, we have looked at the programme to ensure we have something on offer from 6:00a.m to 10:00p.m covering a wide range of topics.”

One of the highlights, they said, is “watching everyone in the evening enjoying the entertainment and embracing the festival experience”.