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On the farm

This series of films features Patrick Holden at his farm, Bwlchwernen Fawr, exploring topics concerning sustainable food and farming.

“Over the next few months we will focus on the key issues around the unsustainability of our present food and farming systems and what might be done to change them at scale. Because unless we change, we believe that we could be facing a planetary emergency. We think that there is a better way to farm, a more sustainable way to produce our food and we want to share the issues using this farm (Bwlchwernen Fawr) as a backdrop” – Patrick Holden

Patrick explains why at Holden Farm Dairy, they compost farmyard manure and combine it with animal bedding, before spreading it back onto the fields. This process obeys the law of return, building soil organic matter, whilst avoiding emissions and increasing the fertility value of compost.  Patrick also explains the process of capturing methane in a new air-tight slurry lagoon to eventually heat water, which saves the emissions that would otherwise be contributing to climate change.

“David Attenborough called it out on the oceans by drawing attention to the plastic crisis, really, we’ve got a similar emergency on the land” – Patrick Holden and Cumbrian dairy farmer Robert Craig discuss how David Attenborough has managed to hugely impact public attitudes towards the global plastic problem affecting our oceans. The two then discuss the need for something similar to happen in order to save our land from unsustainable farming practices.

From his dairy farm in Wales, Patrick responds to the latest red tractor certification debates, calling for a “move towards welfare-friendly livestock systems, so that consumers can buy with confidence”. Following celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s refusal to eat chicken that has been produced to the “Red Tractor” standard (the base line welfare certification scheme in this country), Patrick explains why “the consuming public should demand higher standards of welfare and be prepared to pay a bit more for welfare-friendly meat.”