In the wake of a pioneering publication showcasing why farming matters to the Lake District’s iconic landscapes for nature recovery and climate action, a new film follows in its footsteps.
The booklet What Did Farming Ever Do for Us? went to every one of the national park’s 1,246-strong agricultural community, which is transitioning from EU grants for food production to funding for public benefit.
Its author Lois Mansfield, University of Cumbria’s Professor of Upland Landscapes, said on the back of a successful rollout it was important to go further by illustrating the benefits of famed cultural landscapes created by farming.
She explained: “We need to make farmers feel better about themselves, to be more empowered and valued, a central aim in the16-minute film What does farming do for us? https://player.vimeo.com/video/687066666?h=7688eadfe6
“There is a wider issue too, of encouraging those who visit, live and work here to appreciate what those involved in agriculture bring to this world-renowned area. Their role is crucial in addressing the twin global issues of climate change and nature recovery.
“Quite simply, if we don’t have farmers on our side, the battles are lost.
“Their achievements in creating these landscapes cannot be over-estimated, the value to society is immeasurable. Our World Heritage Status recognised a rich farmed cultural heritage which we need to support and nurture.”
Narrated by South Lakeland farmer, Jim Webster, four national park farming businesses helped in the film’s making. Professor Mansfield said she hoped it would give them and many others across the Lake District impetus and self-worth.
She added: “The booklet has gone down well. On my LinkedIn account alone, there were 2,400 hits and it’s had great reviews across the country, especially from land agents.
“There’s not a lot out there yet that isn’t academic linking farming to climate change and nature recovery, showing pragmatic ways to give people ideas. We seem to be hitting the right balance and are confident the film will carry important messages forward.
“Co-ordinating access to farms at the tail of the pandemic brought challenges as this is a face-to-face, tactile project, but I’m very pleased with the outcome.”
Supported by Ecological Building Systems UK Ltd (Carlisle) and filmed by Rob Grange, partners in the project were the National Trust, ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, Lake District National Park Authority’s historic environment team, Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association and the Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas.
Booklet can be downloaded as a flipbook on https://www.flipsnack.com/B7E75BDD75E/what-did-farming-ever-do-for-us.html