By Alasdair Crosby. Reprinted by kind permission of the Jersey Evening Post.
Picture by Natalie Mayer Photography
A NEW rural event, titled ‘ReGen Gathering’, which took place on Friday 29 September, is set to become a regular feature of the Island’s farming calendar and a forum for innovative ideas.
It is focused on regenerative farming and the community. Like the ‘Groundswell’ regenerative agriculture event in Hertfordshire, which started very small and which now attracts thousands, it is hoped that that the Island’s Re-Gen Gathering will enjoy comparative growth and success.
It is different and distinct from the Jersey Farming Conference (to be held again at La Mare Wine Estate on 2 November). While the Conference focuses on the business of farming, the focus of Re-Gen is more on the rural community – its present state and preservation in the future – and suggesting ways in which agriculture in Jersey could diversify and evolve in an era of change and localisation. It was a free one-day event with panel discussions, workshops and demonstrations about innovative food and farming approaches that brought together a diverse range of people and ideas.
There were over 20 speakers, plus exhibitors and technical demonstrations, building on the work of Jersey Government’s Rural Economic Framework, SCOOP (the Sustainable Cooperative) JICAS (Jersey International Centre of Advanced Studies), and members of the food and farming community across the Channel Islands.
Civil servant John Vautier, who is the senior lead for the Rural and Marine Economy in the Island (and a former farmer), said: ‘We initially thought an attendance of 20 or 30 people would be a good start – and look what has happened! 300 tickets reserved and standing room only.’
Alan Le Maistre, who, with his brother, Charles and cousin, John, farms as ‘Le Tacheron Farm’ and on whose land the event took place, said in his presentation at the start of the conference: ‘We love the heritage of Jersey. We want to see Jersey continue to farm and continue to preserve its rural environment.
‘For us, regeneration is also about regenerating the rural community. We want to be part of a vibrant rural community. We want to work together with large farms and with smaller farms like ours to give Jersey a more diversified farming future.
‘We hope this conference opens up a lot of debate; we hope it brings people together, and we hope that it will allow people to look forward positively to how we can operate a more diversified and richer rural community, and bring in that collaboration and that Jersey spirit that has been the foundation of the Island’s farming for so many generations.’
A more detailed article on the Re-Gen gathering will be posted on-line shortly.