Groundswell: The Glastonbury Of The Farming World

By Ellie Smith

11 months ago

What's on at the annual regenerative farming festival?


When the Cherry family started Groundswell, an event dedicated to regenerative farming, it took place in one single room. Eight years on, it has grown into a full-blown festival, spread across multiple fields and attracting over 6,000 visitors – all with a common interest: to learn more about saving the earth from the ground up.

Groundswell, dubbed the Glastonbury of farming, returns from 28 – 29 June with its most impressive line-up yet. Taking place on Lannock Manor Farm in Hertfordshire, the festival will welcome 200 speakers: farmers, authors, biologists, physicians and policymakers, who will present their ideas about the regenerative agriculture movement.

‘Everyone has a role to play in ensuring we protect our soil, look after the land and produce food in a safe and nutritious way,’ said event director Alex Cherry. ‘Despite the barriers to defining regenerative agriculture, we want to ensure Groundswell remains an inclusive space for everyone to share their own thoughts, practical ideas and experiences to help make farming part of the solution to many of the issues we face today.’ 

Here we outline some of the highlights from this year’s event.

Groundswell: What’s On In 2023?

Soil

At the heart of Groundswell lies a commitment to soil health, and farmers, scientists and microbiologists will be sharing their knowledge at the festival. Take a deep dive into the underworld of soil with Nicole Masters, agroecologist and author of For The Love of Soil, who is hosting a three-hour workshop on soil microbiology. She’s also running a soil observation trip alongside farmers Abby Rose and Annie Landless, while The Land Gardeners are hosting a talk on the future of compost.

People listening to a talk at Groundswell

Food

Naturally, food will be a key focus. BBC Radio 4’s Sheila Dillon will be hosting a panel talk on what we’ll be eating in 2050, while Thomasina Miers will be discussing how public procurement can revolutionise public health. Regenerative viticulture will also be a focus, with a talk hosted by Mini Casteel of the Regenerative Viticulture Foundation.

Guests will be able to sample plenty of food and drink made using regenerative and organic farming methods. Try pastries and coffee from the Groundswell bakery, beers and ciders from the Earthworm Arms, and dishes from food traders who cook with Pasture For Life meat. You can also catch cookery demonstrations, and tune into the Wine & Cheese Hour hosted by Tamlyn Currin of JancisRobinson.com and Angus Birditt, author of A Portrait of British Cheeses

People eating at Groundswell festival

Fashion

Talks will also explore how regenerative farming methods can positively impact the fashion industry. Visitors can learn about climate-friendly sheep farming and new research into the carbon content of wool, plus explore the natural dye garden, which showcases the potential for plant pigments as an emerging farm crop. 

Groundswell regenerative farming

Biodiversity

How is AI helping nature? And why are insects so important? Groundswell will delve into questions like this in a variety of talks on biodiversity. The festival will be a chance to get up close and personal with nature: from guided walks through Agroforestry Alley to a screening of the Wild Isles Food and Farming film – part of the People’s Plan For Nature campaign centred around the BBC TV series.

Glamping

Get even more familiar with the natural world by camping on-site. Groundswell is partnering with Woodville Project to offer glamping accommodation, or you can bring your own tent and pitch up in the camping area.

BOOK:

Find out more and book tickets at groundswellag.com