Celebrating Regenerative Agriculture in Totnes

Marina O’Connell, of the Apricot Centre, hosted a Celebration of Regenerative Agriculture on Tuesday 10th May at the New Lion Brewery at Dartington, Devon with beer on the house. She wanted to celebrate not just her new book, but also many of the local businesses who together are developing a regenerative food economy. 

As farmers face a perfect storm of rocketing fertilizer and oil costs, social businesses from Totnes shared good stories of how they are developing a regenerative local food economy to tackle food security, sovereignty and poverty.

Rob Hopkins co-founder of Transition Towns opened the evening by saying “What Marina has achieved is nothing short of miraculous. We need regenerative agriculture stories like Huxhams Cross Farm. We dont need a time machine to reimagine farming because it’s happening here in Totnes already!”

Marina O Connell spoke of her regenerative design story of Huxhams Cross Farm, now a successful farm with 27 direct and indirect jobs on 38 acres of hitherto marginal land. Rachel Phillips said what a hard job it was selecting 22 brilliant farm apprentices from 260 applicants for their School of Regenerative Land Based Studies. Philip Frances described how Marina was transforming 25 acres of Glebe land by regenerating the soil and water systems so that flooded roads at Week would stop, carbon would be captured and good food is grown. Reclaim the Grain’s mission was a local grain economy and flour mill using locally grown wheat in every town. Mark McConnel introduced Communities of the Soil, an Apricot Centre Platinum Jubilee project supporting minority communities in Plymouth, as a rural /urban growing point 

Martin Large of Hawthorn Press said, “Hawthorn is delighted that her new toolkit, Designing Regenerative Food Systems will support hard-pressed farmers wanting to redesign their farm businesses.” 

Marina O’Connell was interviewed by Joanna Partridge of The Guardian for an article on regenerative food systems, on her book and farm, as there is such interest now in viable alternatives to high input, high-cost farming systems.