Dame Ellen MacArthur made yachting history in 2005, when she became the fastest solo sailor to circumnavigate the globe, and she remains the UK’s most successful offshore racer ever.

Having become acutely aware of the finite nature of the resources our linear economy relies upon, she stepped away from professional sailing in 2009 to launch the Ellen MacArthur Foundation following 4 years traveling the world and researching the challenges facing our current global economy.

She will be speaking at our Harmony in Food and Farming Conference on 10th July, in Llandovery, Wales.


Why are you coming to the conference?

As a curious person who works on pursuing a deeper understanding of a circular economy I am fascinated by restorative and regenerative practices. Farming and agriculture holds some of the best examples of these practices, and I am keen to learn more about these different approaches, as well as bring my experiences of the circular economy to the event.

Why is food and farming important in your Circular Economy initiative?

Farming is an essential and significant part of the global economy, and is ideally placed to benefit from some of the circular initiatives we are working on.

In relation to the Circular Economy what inspiration did you draw during your solo circumnavigation of the world?

I’m not so sure it was inspiration as such, more the realisation that we have finite resources, and unless we learn to use them in a restorative and regenerative way rather than the current linear model of consumption, our economy cannot run in the long term. Sailing round the world on a boat you really realise what finite means, and once I had translated that notion of ‘finite’ to the global economy I realised I had begun a new journey of learning.

How can we create a better business case for more sustainable food and farming?

At the Ellen MacArthur Foundation we work hard to understand the economic rationale for the transition to a circular economy, and farming and food production, including land use, lies at the heart of this. For the Foundation understanding more deeply the opportunities, both from an economic and also regenerative perspective, is vital in accelerating the transition [to a circular economy] and we believe this is essential in creating a real business case.

Photograph: TED Conference

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