Farming the Future exists to strengthen and amplify the movement for an agroecological system of food and farming.
Agroecology offers a vital antidote to the industrial food system and its associated consequences of environmental damage and societal injustice. It is built on equity, harmony, compassion, and renews our deep cultural connection with the earth.
Farming the Future takes a strategic and experimental approach, rooted in deep cooperation within and across the whole system, from how food is produced and distributed to who is included and excluded from access to good food and the land.
We pool funds, knowledge, and networks across funders and actors in the movement, working as equals. We question conventional philanthropy, and continually reassess our processes to be flexible and appropriate to our aims and purpose.
Together, we are all co-creators. Farming the Future draws on our collective wisdom and imagination, and moves towards a holistic, resilient, fair food system for now and for future generations
The Food & Farming Movement
Do you enjoy eating delicious, nutritious food?
Do you appreciate food that is grown in a way that supports our planet’s natural systems? Do you play a role in producing that food?
Do you believe that everyone should have a right to eat in this way?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then, you are part of the food and farming movement, even if you didn’t know it.
The food we eat is at the heart of an entire food system involving the farmers who grew it and the processors who butchered, sorted, baked, cured, made and delivered it, the policymakers who regulate it, the businesses who sell it, and the activists working to change it. The choices we make all have impacts on the health of our own bodies, and that of the Earth, our home..
Food brings people together. Around kitchen tables and on park benches, across shop counters and in the halls of government, ideas are shared and moments are made. But food is also our connection to the Earth. Each bite taken, each seed sown, each loaf baked, wheel of cheese cured, or bottle of wine fermented, or animal butchered: all provide us with a direct, daily communion with the soil... …
…and this is, quite literally, a grassroots movement.
The wide network of people who work in this space ranges greatly in scale and expertise. From community volunteers who bring food to the doorsteps of those in need, to national certification bodies and policy experts shaping the rules of the game. They come in all shapes and sizes, but they are all working hard each day to make sure our food is nourishing both for our bodies and for the web of life we live within.
It is the mission of the Farming the Future Collective to bring them all together, to sail towards the new horizon of food and farming. You can see a beautiful visualisation of our network - just one part of this movement - created for us by Rowland Williams, here.
We are mobilising because we believe now is the time. We face mounting challenges to our ability to live well and in harmony with each other and the world. Brexit and Covid-19 are just two of the most recent examples. We are deeply aware of the broader context within which we work: catastrophic climate change, dramatic biodiversity decline, soil erosion and degradation, the pollution of our air and waters, and the emptying of our oceans all threaten the web of life within which we exist.
Food is at the heart of these global crises and geopolitical challenges.
But food is also a solution.
The food and farming movement is made up of farmers, millers, investors, lawyers, journalists, activists, growers, butchers, and many others. But importantly, it is made up of people who care deeply.
People like you.
What Equity Means
At Farming the Future, we are committed to funding projects which advance equity in the agroecology movement. This means that we want to support projects that put fairness & justice at their core.
Food justice; ensuring we support diversity and inclusion within our work, the network, and society.
The sharing of funds and workload between partners more equitably, acknowledging and respecting the different capacities and capabilities of each partner within the collaboration.
The current dominant global and UK food system is extractive, built on the perpetuation the oppression of human and non-human beings. Its structures of power are opaque, and information is held in the hands of the few. To build a truly agroecological food system, Farming the Future recognises that this must change: infrastructures of oppression and extraction must be replaced with infrastructures of liberation and abundance; a culture of proprietary false solutions must be replaced with a culture of sharing and openness.
Farming the Future recognises that equity is a core value of a truly agroecological food system. Building equity into our food system ensures that:
Every being has access to healthy, nutritious, culturally appropriate food, and can participate fully in the food system
Farmers, food growers and producers and food workers have fair and healthy working conditions: that they are protected from long working hours, exposure to pesticides or bad weather conditions; and that they have incomes that allow for dignity and wellbeing
There is access to the means of production (such as land, secure tenure, water), and access to financial capital (such as low cost loans or crowdfunding).
Diverse voices are equitably represented within the food and farming movement, and our network proactively seeks out, supports, and values them.
We hold within our community a space of inclusion, care and respect for non-human beings, who care for our soil, pollinate our crops, and manifest our ecosystems in their very beings.
The Farming the Future Collective Fund was established through co-creation, and it can only be successful through multi-stakeholder participation. As such, we are led by a Steering Committee made up of door representatives and ambassadors from the food and farming movement, as well as our Programme Manager.
We actively seek out learning, wisdom and understanding from people with first-hand experience of growing and selling food, working with marginalised communities, informing policymakers and organising for change.
The voice of the movement is represented on the Steering Committee by Ambassadors from the movement. Each was nominated by the movement itself and will serve a term of up to three years.
Granville Community Kitchen
Deidre ‘Dee’ Woods is a food & farming actionist, Landworkers Alliance coordinating group member, and co-founder of Granville Community Kitchen in NW London. Dee is at the heart of holding Government and the regenerative farming movement to account by ensuring that social justice, racial equality, and gender parity, is engrained within the food system.
Vidacycle & Farmerama Radio
Abby is a farmer, physicist and soil health advocate. She co-founded Vidacycle Tech, who develop observation-focused apps like Soilmentor, to help build ecology, profitability and beauty on farms around the world. She is also the co-creator of Farmerama Radio, an award-winning podcast sharing the voices behind regenerative farming.
Jyoti is an agroecological smallholder farmer. The farm runs a micro dairy and produces a wide range of products from cheese and meats to cider, juice and preserves. Jyoti coordinates the Policy, Lobbying and Campaigning work of the LWA, a statutory consultee to Defra and the British arm of the worldwide peasants’ organisation, Via Campesina.
Josiah is the CEO of Hodmedods, a business that works with British farmers to produce and market pulses and grains. Hodemedods are advocates of short and transparent supply chains for food system resilience and safety. It’s is Josiah’s belief that creating more diverse farming systems and diets are key to a healthier and more sustainable future.
Julie is Director of Growing Communities: a London-based social enterprise set up in 1996. Their box scheme, farmers’ market, urban farms, wholesale arm (Better Food Shed), and an expanding network of Better Food Traders work to transform food and farming through community-led trade. She sits on the Bridging the Gap programme board, the LEAP investment committee and is active in the Fruit and Veg Alliance.
Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts
Vicki is the Strategic Lead on Agriculture at the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and was previously the Head of the Sustainable Farming Campaign for Sustain. She is a published author and also runs an independent consultancy. An experienced and award-winning environmental campaigner, researcher, writer and strategist working for the past 30 years mainly on food, farming and environmental issues and solutions, Vicki has worked on government policy for many years and has led teams at FoE, War on Want, WSPA and SAFE Alliance. She has co-founded many organisations including Sustain, Hackney Food Partnership and the Eating Better Alliance.
Bonnie joins us from Power to Change, an independent trust that strengthens communities through community businesses. She has worked with Power to Change for seven years on place-based programmes and democratic ownership, she also set up the Innovation and Infrastructure fund that helped the Real Farming Trust to secure funding for the first phase of the Loans Enlightened Agriculture Programme. Before entering the world of funding Bonnie worked for several years in food and farming, first as a campaigner in Brixton around urban food growing, and then as the Soil Association’s project manager for the Community Supported Agriculture scheme as part of Making Local Food Work.
Ashley joins Farming the Future with a background in social and environmental justice campaigning. She brings experience on a range of issues including challenging corporate power, food systems, right to water, international debt, gender, and climate justice. Prior to joining Farming the Future, she was the Research Lead for the Public Interest Research Network (PIRC) helping social movements create effective narratives for change. She is particularly interested in taking a holistic and systemic approach to creating change, understanding that everything connects and we are far more effective when we work together.
The Value for Funders
The benefits of collaborating as Funders are many-fold:
We are able to support more organisations without watering down the impact.
The risk of working with new or small organisations is shared.
Knowledge is co-created and disseminated.
Duplicating workflows (by both potential grantees and funders) is avoided.
Organisations of extreme scales are funded, which may have been a challenge before.
The systemic impact is achieved through interconnected thinking.
"The funding support we received from Farming the Future has been of critical importance, through its capacity to strengthen the transformative work we are doing on measuring and valuing sustainability in food systems, not simply for its impact on strengthening the capacity of the project, which is valuable enough, but also because the support brings us closer to a constellation of like- minded organisations and funders who share a deep understanding of our mission and outcome objectives".