Adam's Top Takeaways from Groundswell - The Festival for Regenerative Agriculture

Adam's Top Takeaways from Groundswell - The Festival for Regenerative Agriculture

Adam's Top Takeaways from Groundswell - The Festival for Regenerative Agriculture

When you talk about UK festivals, it doesn’t get much more iconic than the big G!

However Glastonbury isn’t the only festival beginning with G that takes place in the last week of June.

Some of the bean team have just got back from Groundswell, a festival that we’ve been visiting for a few years now, but we’re not there for the music (despite the DJ set from Andy Cato of Groove Armada)…

What happens at Groundswell Festival?

Taking place in the Hertfordshire countryside, Groundswell is The Festival for Regenerative Agriculture.

In Groundswell’s own words; “Groundswell provides a forum for farmers, growers, or anyone interested in food production and the environment to learn about the theory and practical applications of regenerative farming systems.”

Not heard of regenerative agriculture before? Put simply it is “farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity.”

Here at The Honest Bean Co. we are particularly interested in soil health as the fava beans we grow sequester carbon back into the soil, acting as a natural fertiliser. We are always excited to head to Groundswell to meet like-minded farmers and businesses who share our passion for regenerative agriculture.

What is the line-up at Groundswell Festival?

Instead of musical acts taking to the stage, the line-up is made up of guest speakers sharing their knowledge, insight and experiences of regenerative agriculture.

Regenerative agriculture is a wide spectrum with new ideas, methods and science being put into practice every year. To get the low down on this year’s Groundswell we asked our founder Adam about his visit to the 2024 festival and what his highlights were.

Can you give us a brief summary of what the show is all about?

Groundswell is a 2 day event run by the Cherry family which was designed as place where people who are interested in and practicing regenerative agriculture can go to meet and swap ideas. There are a large number of relevant trade stands, as well as over 10 different lecture tents.

How many years have you attended and what made you first go?

This was my 4th year at Groundswell. At the time I wanted to practice more regenerative techniques and it seemed like a good place to go to get ideas and talk to likeminded people.

Why do you feel regenerative agriculture practices are so important?

The future of farming is in our soil. To be able to continue feeding the nation we need to look after and nourish our soil. It is our responsibility to farm more sustainably.

 What are your top 3 take aways from this year’s event?

  1. Food policy on a government level is incredibly important. Healthy soil – Healthy plants – healthy food – healthy people. We need to invest in new food systems
  2. With the right management techniques we can seriously reduce pesticide applications and some nitrogen fertilisers without sacrificing yield. Reducing cost for farmers and improving soil health
  3. Livestock plays a very important part in regenerative farming systems.

What are your current goals/challenges with regenerative practices here on the farm?

My goals for my own farm are to remove all insecticide use immediately, implement a four year plan to remove fungicide use and utilise livestock more to graze arable crops.

The biggest challenge we could face is that yields will be down if the techniques do not succeed, which will put the farm under financial strain but it's a risk I feel we have to take because the results could have such a positive impact on the health of our soiland the future of the farm. 

Want to find out more about how growing fava beans can help with improve soil health.

Check out our blog on Nitrogen Fixing