ParisCOP21 – our journey in pictures

We came to Paris as fervent apprentices to the new way of young people in agriculture joining the conversations that shape the future. We are leaving knowing it was one the best choices we will ever make.

Thank you to all of the people who believed in us, encouraged us and supported us. Our journey home is not the end it’s a new beginning

On December 12, 2015 in Paris, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change finally came to a landmark agreement.

Signed by 196 nations, the Paris Agreement is the first comprehensive global treaty to combat climate change, and will follow on from the Kyoto Protocol when it ends in 2020. It will enter into force once it is ratified by at least 55 countries, covering at least 55% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read what Professor Tim Flannery had to say on the Historic agreement in City of Light a beacon of progress

 

Advertisements

What’s next?

After assisting one of our heifers deliver her first calf, my Dad and I sat under a tree on our farm to discuss climate change. It was the first time he had openly discussed the issue on camera and was a little hesitant as to what Al Gore and the community would think of his gradual change of heart on the issue. But really Dad, like all Australian farmers, had been adapting well to climate change for some time.

We discussed the type of cattle we breed, the new trees that have now been planted to replace the ones ripped out some years before we moved here, the choice to fence off the river from the rest of the farm and the new shelter over the cattle yards. We also reflected on the past, the hard summers made worse by the even drier winters, the constant gamble on the weather and the prayers for a better tomorrow.

Having committed to openly discuss climate change only 12 months ago, I am amazed at the generosity and commitment of people to the cause. I never envisioned myself being included in a cookbook, lobbying the Government in the walls of Parliament House, proposing a successful climate change policy motion that garnered media and interest from around the world or travelling to Paris for COP21. But here I am…

Often referred to by the collective masses as the last chance to save the planet from the impacts of climate change, it is clear that there are 3 distinct groups of people that have attended the conference. Those whose job demands they come for government or business reasons, the social justice activists and protestors who want strong emission’s target outcomes and those who are here to ensure their families and their homeland and their culture can simply survive.

Listening to the speakers and meeting so many diverse people from both the wealthiest and poorest countries the conference has left me horrified, motivated and empowered. Horrified at the climate change driven, devastating events that are happening on a daily basis around the world. Horrified at the risks that we are taking if we don’t act now and motivated and empowered by the mood and desire for positive outcomes

It’s also been a time of great personal reflection as I sit through the conference sessions and watch the intense activity around me, I have found myself constantly asking myself the same question that I have recently been pondering about my own life… What’s next? Even if the result of COP is the best decision possible, how will we implement it? Are we really ready to live the life we are lobbying governments to create?

After gaining a greater appreciation of the circumstances in the world, I tremble at the thought of how much more action is needed and what impact I, as an individual, can have on this. I ponder whether I can create a green lifestyle personally, while helping improve the agricultural systems and livelihoods of farmers and communities around the world.

The COP21 trip has taught me that there are many options out there, whether it’s moving to an ecovillage like Findhorne, incorporating renewables on the farm like in Snowdonia or changing Government policy through people power and lobbying and hoping the government of the day sees the big picture and what is best for us in the long term.

I am still working on my future plans, imagining what I really want in life and how I can continue to play my part. What I do know for certain is that we could create change within the crowded corridors at COP21. I also know we all play an important part in this journey and as individuals we must ensure we also walk the talk when we demand so much from Government. I’m committed to creating change, envisioning a better life and a bright future.

As darkness settles in over Paris, I hope that the enthusiasm and the commitment translates into action on the ground. I hope that we can all do our part on a personal level to help reduce the impacts of climate change. And I dream of a world where maybe one day my descendants can sit under the same tree with their Dad and share their story with the world.

 

CUYGFsVUsAA2qdv.jpg_large

 

Agricultural discussions

A draft text has been passed from the negotiators to the ministers and the text still includes many of the key aspects necessary for a meaningful agreement. Many challenges remain however, and ministers are working on issues such as loss and damage and the ongoing debate over the relationship between developed and developing countries, and the emissions gap between what countries have committed to and what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change.

 

This is the first time agriculture has been included in the COP debate in this manner. It is positive to see that agriculture and food security has been shifted to a more central position in the debate- although it highlights that this sector is at the forefront of climate impact.

 

Maria Helena-Semedo, the FAO Director General stated that food is the most basic human need- yet 800 million people suffer from chronic hunger everyday. Although there has been great work being done in reducing hunger across the world, climate change threatens to reverse this progress.

 

If we don’t adapt, reducing emissions alone won’t be enough. If we don’t reduce emissions, we won’t be able to adapt enough. Therefore, there has to be both considerable adaptation and mitigation work.

 

Poverty, hunger and climate change must be addressed together. And agriculture is a key on doing so. The discussions have highlighted that there must be a multi-strategic process that works on achieving sustainable production systems, sustainable consumption, and the reduction of food waste.

 

Production systems

Partnerships are an essential key in developing sustainable production systems. There needs to be a strengthening between local alliances and an inclusion of local stakeholder voices in policy and public discussion. Capacity development of local governments and farming organisations will help to develop solutions to local problems and give participants a sense of ownership.

 

There needs to be open and honest conversation between all stakeholders and participants in food systems. Everyone has different objectives and perspectives, and finding a shared vision is essential for meaningful change and sustainable systems. Knowledge is key for all development and improvement, so conversation must occur. Also, it provides the opportunity to leverage off each others skills and knowledge providing mutual benefit.

 

Consumption

A healthy diet for people means a healthy diet for the planet. There needs to be nutritional equity. In Niger if a child is born in a drought year, there is a 50% likelihood they will be stunted.

 

There needs to be greater consumer awareness of food systems. This includes how food is produced and consumed, and how individual choices do influence the supply chain. By consuming responsibly there will be positive improvement within the system in its entirety. For example, eating local to reduce food miles and carbon footprint, eating healthy fresh food to reduce health ailments, supporting local farmers to help community economy. All these decisions impact upon food availability, access and use.

 

Waste

30% of global food is wasted, and if this is not addressed we will never be able to feed the world. Food waste can occur at many points along the food chain. Whether is at the production end, during distribution and packaging, or in the household. Measures can be put in place to reduce wastage and attitudes to wastage can be change. A greater respect for food and ability to save food will help this cause.

 

Al Gore concluded his moving presentation yesterday with “We must see across the difficulties. We must look past the challenges. Only then can we achieve such a great moral achievement”.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Young and Future Generations Day – Intergenerational Inquiry & results of the Conference of Youth.

Climate change is no longer just about the environment, it is about the existence of people on this planet.

Today we as the youth are the leaders, and the change begins with us. The drive to make this change a reality is carried by the fire within the youth. Everyone has two homes- their country and their planet. We need to build the future that we are proud to pass on. For that to occur we need imagination and we need to raise our voices.

 

Our world has been built on unsustainable practices. We are deeply implicated and dependent upon a dirty industry. And we the youth must be present to be able to change this. It is a deeply flawed system brought about by previous generations, and must be fought by this generation.

 

Christina Figueres, the president of UNFCCC stated that “This is not just a COP- this is THE COP of your generation”. We are all alive at this moment, so we all share a responsibility. Those in the negotiation rooms have the responsibility inherited from previous generations. A huge responsibility. The decisions they make must be transformative- with a fundamental intentional shift. All of us alive, and all those to come are witnessing their decisions.

Ms Figueres said “Congratulations for being here. Be proud of yourselves. You will be able to tell the future generations you were here and you played a role.

We can be climate neutral right now with our actions- we don’t have to wait. We have reached a turning point. It is no longer acceptable to make poor choices with our natural resources.

The people at COP21 are going to witness history first hand. As voters, innovators, consumers we have the ability to change the world. Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something. The strength of COY11 and the other youth events lies in the diversity of participants and sharing of knowledge and strategies. The youth of this world is ready now to change our models of societies.

 

A new way of thinking – ParisCOP21 Farmers Day

Climate change is affecting farmers and rural communities around the world- although impacts are not evenly distributed. The cumulative reality of hunger, poverty and inequality highlights a need for a new solution. We cannot think that technology will save us- we need new ways to manage and interact with the land, our produce, and our communities.

 

Risk in farming systems

Farmers are price takers, and as such are subject to the changing will and preferences of consumers. Farmers are expected to cover risk and rising input costs. So how can we spread the risk thought the value chain? A spokes person from Ben and Jerry’s said that we need to invest in the supply chain and build long lasting relationships between suppliers and manufactures. We need to establish more programs that value add and build resilience- such as cover cropping, reforestation, diversification of crops to name a few- and business suppliers and manufacturers are a critical component in addressing this issue.

 

Making decisions

People in the decision making level don’t always know or understand the problems on the ground. It is important that social scientists work with agriculture to understand the impact on stakeholders- validate the viewpoints of stakeholders and facilitate the dialogue between stakeholders. Decision making needs to be multi-disciplinary and involve multi-stakeholders. There needs to be dialogue between farmers and policy makers.

 

Role of consumers

The consumer is the person who gives the value to the product. Therefore consumer influence in the industry is important. Consumers need to be conscious of their role and the impact of their choices. There is a difference between what a consumer says they want, and what they actually purchase on, so there needs to be greater education and accessibility of goods they desire. Consumers can encourage this movement by being more aware, learning more, and asking more questions.

 

Farmers in developing nations

2 degrees warming may be safe for some- but not to many- particularly those in the poorest countries. In each presentation during Farmers Day minority groups and farmers from developing countries stood up and expressed their concerns. The issues for them are real and present. Most farmers in developing nations are small holders- with limited resources and technologies. There is alot of waste after harvest- food loss through poor storage and distribution streams. Mental health for many peasant farmers is reaching a crisis, as farmers watch as their land becomes degraded, families fall apart, and they lose their dignity by falling into debt.

Migration is an extreme form of adaptation- and one that we don’t want. These people are leaving lands, livelihoods and cultures. Their way of life is being dispersed- extending loss and devastation. Migration of family members is a last resort and raises so many flow-on issues when families are broken up.

 

How to improve agricultural resilience

There is a need for learning spaces, where there is opportunity to share knowledge, have open and honest dialogue, and tackle the challenging questions. Farmers need to be able to take greater hold of their destiny- particularly as collectives. There is a need for cooperative voices and farming champions. We shouldn’t think project level, we should think program. Small projects crowd out the bigger picture.

We need to enable farmers to develop local technologies for their unique situations. Issues of technology are key- whether these technologies are GM or a hand hoe- access and affordability need to be addressed. There is a need to enable local communities to voice what they are experiencing and support strategies they see best fit.

 

Partnerships in farming

Farmers can’t solve this problem on their own. There is a need to bring all the pieces of the supply chain together. We need to create models that are replicable, inclusive and multi-stakeholder. From a scientific perspective- partnerships are everything in order to understand information. Including, we need to understand the constraints of the people in the ministry levels. There is a critical role of farmer extension to translate science into practicalities. Governments need to acknowledge that agricultural science is an essential area for investment. If one actor in the value chain experiences problems- then the whole value chain fails.

Partnerships help stakeholders to leverage off skills and capabilities. Deep collaboration builds upon respective strengths of various organisations- and is more effective, efficient and impactful. Building on existing programs, develops benefits and helps for people to learn from each other. Innovative programs help to propagate science, technology and innovations.

 

Agriculture as a source of solutions

We need to recognise agriculture as a source of solutions for climate change. Today 800 million people are hungry – this should motivate us to link food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation. We are here in the 21st century- but we are still using the practices and mindframes of the 20th century to feed the population.

Countries need to be more self sufficient. Domestic polices are just as important as global policies.

There needs to be a relationship between people, crops and livestock is built on empathy, not exploitation. There must be respect, not solely a goal of maximizing profit.

We need realistic metrics to document and track progress and improve on successes. We need productive, resilience, low emission food systems.

 

Agroecology

Agroecology approaches are global initiatives that include the three pillars- economic, social and environmental factors. Agroecology responds to and encompasses these pillars. All solutions do not fit all policy- so they need to be open and able to combine these three pillars in a local setting. Agroecology provides guidelines for all public policies. A framework of action that guides our policies and action plans. There are key elements; a systemic approach; looking beyond a quantitative idea of production; decision autonomy so that agriculture is adapted to local contexts; a focus on natural cycles that already exist, and recycling resources that are already captured to enhance synergies and reduce waste. In essence, there must be a holistic perspective in alignment with local stakeholders.

Agroecology is not abstract, but quite a pragmatic response. However it is not being promoted at the global level. It is being locked down by loud voices. We need political will, not only to help transition, but to protect it, so it is not brought down by powerful bodies with alternative drivers. There needs to be on equal footing as the powerful corporations.

 

Gender equality

Many farmers in developing nations still operate in a patriarchal system. Gender equality is highly important- in many regions the free market system has pushed men off the farms, resulted in urban migration, and leaving women behind on the land. 43% of farmers are women, they are involved in 90% of food preparation in households, but receive only 5% of extension services. Currently, needs are not addressed and rights are not respected.

Obstacles regarding gender equality need to be removed. Future adaptation and mitigation policies need to be gender sensitive. Training women to be more climate resilient has a cascading effect- as women talk and teach their families and communities. There need the tools and finance to build resilience for both genders. Training, research, on-ground strategies that can really help.

COP21 begins!

The UN climate conference COP21 is expected to be a turning point in taking action on climate change. Over the past few days half a million people around the world took to streets in record numbers calling world leaders to do their part in scaling up climate action. The record number of leaders and record number of delegates attending the talks is truly historic- and highlights the global desire to improve the future of our world.

 

People have come here to support an ambitious agreement. However, with so many stakeholders involved and different perspectives, this is understandably no easy task. However, political dynamics have shifted so that the vast majority of countries now see a climate agreement in their interests. Today being the first day of COP21 marks the beginning of the climate talks and negotiations, and the world is watching on what outcomes will be achieved.

The former executive secretary of the UNFCCC, Yvo de Boer, says that Paris should have three core elements to achieve a successful agreement:

“The first is to agree on a process to review the adequacy of commitments and their implementation…The second is to reach a compromise deal on finance…The third is to regularly review the process itself to think about how the international community can deliver on implementation.”

 The solutions are real and available. Renewables are cheaper and more powerful than ever – having been pushed by community leaders and progressive businesses. The energy sector, accounting for some two-thirds of all global emissions, must be a top priority for action if we are to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. Accordingly, for the first time at any UN climate conference, renewable energy solutions will be showcased in a series of high-profile events. The ‘renewable energy track’, named RE-Energising the Future (#REenergise), will demonstrate that renewable energy, together with energy efficiency, offers a realistic path to limiting global temperature rise. In the first few days of COP21 world will take their message from the opening days and use it to empower the negotiators and ministers to produce an agreement which can accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy, reduce poverty and protect vulnerable people from the impacts of climate change.

An interview with COP TV- RTCC provided me the opportunity to speak of the mission of INTO Farms and how agriculture at large is being impacted by climate change. Watched by millions across the globe, COP TV is a means of sharing knowledge, concerns, and calling on our leaders to make firm commitments on climate change. The link to the interview will be provided in the coming days.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anika Molesworth from ParisCOP21 30th November 2015

Conference of Youths

Conference of Youth from Anika’s perspective

Josh and Anika

A few thousand motivated and enthusiastic young people in a room sure is an inspiring place to be. Youths from around the world have gathered to share ideas, stories, and strategies to improve the world. Everyone comes from such unique backgrounds- bringing individual perspectives and observations to the floor. But they all share a common mission- to ensure the change that the world needs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The Secretary General of the UN Ban Ki Moon yesterday called for optimism in the lead up to COP21- 

“My message to world leaders is clear: success in Paris depends on you. Now is the time for common sense, compromise and consensus. It is time to look beyond national horizons and to put the common interest first. The people of the world and generations to come count on you to have the vision and courage to seize this historic moment.”

I have not been to a conference where there is so much optimism as this one. Although the challenges are great, the threats are real, and the impacts are global- I have no doubt that the people gathered here will change the world.

A delegate of UN Youth made a powerful presentation at the COY11 Opening Ceremony, calling out that

“No one has the right to gamble with our future” and stated that “We are the generation that will make it happen”.

It was these words of empowerment that made us realize that we in this room are the change makers of the future.

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club.

Xiuhtezcatl from Earth Guardians made it plain that climate change is indeed a global issue, but it is caused by local and individual choices. The individual cannot claim to be not involved, not affected, and not able— each and everyone of us has the opportunity to build a legacy worth leaving for the future.

The only way to lead a people is to show them a future. A leader is a dealer of hope” Napoleon.

However, Paul Watson founder of the Sea Shepherd said that we cannot wait for such a global issue to be tackled by politicians. The movement must come from the people, and the governments will jump on board when they are ready. It is not important whether we are hopeful or pessimistic about climate action, what is important is that we are determined— that we are always striving forward towards the goal of a better future.

COY11 has demonstrated to us what happens when a generations future is gambled with. It makes these people stand up, speak out, and take action. COY11 has filled us with hope— that despite all obstacles ahead— there is a force embodied in the younger generation that will ensure we have a bright future.

The take home message for me was that we cannot sit and wait for our Governments to take action. Individual choices and actions will make the difference, and there is no time to sit and wait for someone else to lead on this issue. Each and everyone of us has to stand up and be that change we want in the world.

In the words of Asher Jay 

“You are awake and alive right now- it is your responsibility- everybody’s responsibility- to fix it.”

Make It Real- A Case for Action

 

Paris Day 3 of the COY11 conference has reinforced a number of things for Anika and me

Front and centre our agricultural sector has what it takes to be highly competitive but despite huge potential and the rapidly growing demand for our products, agriculture overall has been losing market share to international competitors. It’s widely acknowledged within agriculture that it is being held back by a lack of strong leadership.

Young people in agriculture like Anika and I  know that if Australian agriculture is to reach its true potential then it’s going to need a generation of passionate and energetic future influencers with a different set of skills beyond agricultural expertise, who can recognise new business opportunities and make them happen.

To help develop these vital skill sets Anika and I applied and were accepted into the Young Farming Champions program.

We joined the program because we are excited about the future of agriculture and its opportunities .We joined the program because we are aware of the challenges and we wanted to join the conversation on the solutions. We joined the program because we wanted to get involved and take action. We joined the program because we  know it provides access to some of the brightest minds in the country committed to exceptional talent development and importantly we knew we would be nurtured  and able to hone our skills in a safe environment.

An integral component of the Young Farming Champions program is “learning by doing” and this is why  we decided to crowd fund our way to Paris. We see Paris as a perfect opportunity to meet lateral thinkers from around the world who are passionate about the same things we are

Bringing the stories of passionate young Australian agriculturalists to Paris could not have come at a better time. Its is the perfect opportunity to work with others across the globe to determine our future by acting on climate change

Like us every single one of the 3000 young people attending the Conference of Youth (COY11) know that whilst

Climate change creates elevated levels of uncertainty about our future and amid this uncertainty, one thing is certain. We will leave the Earth to our children, young people and future generations.

When Anika and I arrived at Parc des Expositions Conference Centre at 8 o’clock this morning, we were greeted by 8 security guards and 6 soldiers holding machine guns.

This environment was sobering but it was overwhelmingly inspiring to see so many young people determined to make a unified statement and say together that Paris has to achieve much more than emissions targets and  a transition to a green economy, it also a time to stand up for social justice

The COY11 event has been set up as an open space. We have a choice of attending sessions on issues that like-minded people feel particularly strongly about. To help encourage further communication and innovation we can workshop our ideas in private or in public. It’s really free flowing and entirely dependent on the individual as to what they want to get out.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

With such a diverse group of people the language barrier can be a bit confusing at times. There are translators in each room and headsets available for the bigger sessions. The innovation stream is good for this and we have a full time translator as a facilitator for our group.

I was fortunate to be selected as one of 200 young people from around the world for a Make it Real Innovation Lab stream

Naturally I joined the agriculture group where young farmers from Kenya and South Africa, shared with us that climate change is a significant threat to the welfare of millions of the rural poor and opened my eyes to the need for a worldwide rethink on the way we produce food and the way we farm.  It’s pretty scary when you think that 30% of the fertile land in the world has vanished in the past 30 years.

image1

Like us climate change is emerging as a major challenge to agricultural development in their countries. The increasingly unpredictable and erratic nature of weather systems on the African continent have placed an extra burden on food security and rural livelihoods. On top of this there is poor infrastructure and governance and extreme poverty

World Bank forecasts show that Sub Saharan Africa will surpass Asia as the most food insecure region inhabiting 40-50% of undernourished people globally in 2080 compared with 24% today.

Unlike us these young people come from farming communities with no opportunity to share agricultural knowledge and little or no access to training on sustainable farming systems methods. They live in hope that they can continue feeding their communities, but uncertainty as to who will farm in the future and where they will get the knowledge.

Anika has spent the last 12 month in Laos forging an agricultural career spanning continents and cultural divides and the last 3 days has driven home to me just how important the work she is going is.

It has become even clearer to me that the need for action on Climate Change is NOW  because when the era of cheap food ends, the world will face the daunting challenges of food production and providing immediate relief for the poor affected by drought, natural disasters and conflict.

 

#ParisCOP21 – we have arrived

image.pngToday we flew into Paris where our  first taste of the atmosphere at COP21 is three days at the Conference of Youth where I am lucky enough to be selected as 1 of 200 people to participate in the Make it Real workshops

Surreal is one of those over used words that invariably pops up when some-one finds themselves living a dream

On Paris Black Friday I was one of 15 Young Farming Champions attending The Archibull Prize Awards when the news of the Paris attacks broke

At dinner that night we all looked at each other and our hearts went out to the victims and their families

Our next thoughts were for our families- Anika and I would be in Paris one week later and we knew that our families would be now be struggling with this knowledge. “Should we support our son/daughter going to this place where so much devastation has rained down? ”

But like us they knew deep in their hearts this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see world leaders define the future we all deserve

And we are here

It’s easy to appreciate and understand the fear surrounding the recent events in Paris.

Arriving in Paris today we weren’t quite sure what the mood would be. Police presence was very visible at the train station, but less in the streets as we headed to the place that would be our base for our trip to Paris and COP21

We left early for the COY11 conference and the fear and hyper awareness was almost stifling.  There were security guards everywhere. Everyone was a potential terrorist. Metal detector wands and undercover police presence assured us France was taking our personal safety very seriously.

We have made this journey which our parents have sanctioned because we care. At this three day conference we will be sitting beside 5,000 young people from around the globe who feel as passionate as we do.

5000 young people who know they have the capacity to make a difference just by being brave enough to turn up

5000 young people who know they have the capacity to help create the world we all deserve, hopefully safely and peacefully

At COY11 we will speak out for a different story on how to make our model of society sustainable and desirable?

We will team up and tackle the big  question of how we change the world. At COY11 there is a safe room for our craziest initiatives to grow quickly and spread far.

During the next 3 days, we will start to build tomorrow’s world together.
Whatever our backgrounds we will hold a unique vision we will be ready to follow through.

Check out the program

COY11

Despite the fear and devastation there is a definite positive  vibe

We have moved from a world where everyone said it was someone else’s problem, to one where everyone knows this can be only be solved collectively. We are not in a world of business as usual.

That’s the good news. And in many senses the Paris summit looks set to represent success: every major country taking real action to reduce emissions, a substantially different path from where we would be without that action. Paris will also repeat the international commitment made at Copenhagen to limit warming to 2 degrees. Source The Guardian 

We look forward to best outcomes for people and the planet …. Josh on behalf of Josh and Anika

 

I have a stream!

It’s day 3 of our adventure to seek out solutions that are responsive to the challenges of Australia’s farming communities and our hope to create a better future for all .

Josh and Anika in Wales  (5)We arrived early Monday morning and after a quick coffee, we were off to Bangor in Wales to gain a greater appreciation of how renewables and farming could work together. We toured across the countryside, admiring the beauty of the landscapes and architecture.

Josh and Anika in Wales  (7)

Our first stop in Wales was a community meeting to talk about hydro-power and the increasing impact that this power source was having across the country. Already, there are over 100 hydro sites across Wales and over 5,800 community energy groups in the United Kingdom to create change. Renewable sites having contracts with individuals and other community groups to provide them with power at a fixed green rate- providing more $$’s than the government rebate and cheaper for the person receiving the power. Already in Germany, 48% of the country’s power supply is generated by community energy projects. There’s obviously a great need for us in Australia to re-assess the impact of people and the importance of community led projects across the nation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Hafod y Llan is situated in the timeless Nantgwynant Valley, the largest farm run by the National Trust of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Part of the property is designated a National Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It extends from the valley floor to the summit of Snowdon. Hikers and nature lovers meander the many paths through this extraordinary landscape.

Hafod 1

Hafod Y Llan truly depicts what the conventional farm of the future could look like in Australia- 4 hydro sites, the largest generating 6600kw/h, a 10kw/h solar PV system, a sawdust pellet powered heater, Welsh black cattle and mountain sheep exploring the countryside and a full time ecologist to help lessen the impact on farms landscape. What is truly wonderful about this farm is that they have kept a long term forecast and are working with an intent to keep the farm in operation for generations.

Josh and Anika in Wales  (4)

The Hafod y Llan hydro scheme began generating power 18 months ago. The hydro power now provides enough energy to cover all electricity across National Trust Wales properties. By 2020 the National Trust wants to have reduced reliance on fossil fuels by 20%, of which 50% of the renewable energy coming from on-site. The hydro operation draws people from all over the country, who are interested in transitioning away from fossil fuel reliance. Industry groups, schools and universities, and local farmers are all among the inquisitive visitors who hope to adopt hydro power.

Josh and Anika in Wales  (8)

Alongside the energy focus, the farm has also partnered with the Welsh Young Farmer Group and provides a scholarship of a year for 1 young farmer to manager one of the adjacent farms owned by the trust. The vision and foresight of those on the farm is truly inspirational! This means that the farm acts as a ‘model farm’ for many in the area, with farmers, engineers and community groups from right around the world visiting to see what is happening. The picturesque views and gentle nature of those that work there perfectly showcase what is possible.

Josh and Anika in Wales  (1)

So what does this mean for Australia? It means that we have the challenge of have to re-think and examine the way we do business, explore current systems and work together as an industry and as a community to create long term change. We need to acknowledge that if we come together and really want this that we can make a difference, while recognising some of the great work that has already happened on farm.

Approximately half of Hafod Y Llan’s income comes from the renewables and farm adaptation systems, much of which comes through government grants and the farm effectively “crowd funded” by parties across the United Kingdom.

It is evident that traditional farming practices can coexist and thrive with ecologically sustainable land management when strong government incentives and positive community attitudes toward renewables exist, 

We have just arrived in Paris to start the Conference of Youth with over 5,000 young people from around the world. We look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you over the coming days and weeks.

Read Hafod y Llan here: http://intofarms.org/hafod-y-llan/