Welcome to Canolfan Tir Glas Blog Page                                                                                                               

Join us every month for a guest feature blog post. We kick start with our January post from Patrick Holden of Bwlchwernen Fawr Farm and who is also the Chief Executive of the Sustainable Food Trust.

I am delighted to have been given this opportunity to welcome the launch of Canolfan Tir Glas, an initiative of truly historic significance around the themes of harmony and sustainability. Its core intention is to develop the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Lampeter Campus, as a stage, drawing on the reservoir of culture and expertise in the rural hinterland of West Wales, and by doing so lead the way so that many other academic institutions throughout the world can integrate their educational mission with best practice on the ground.

I can see enormous opportunities for developing this relationship using my own farm as one of the educational stages. At Bwlchwernen Fawr, which is situated only 7 miles from Lampeter, we have been practicing sustainable and organic dairy farming and cheesemaking for nearly 50 years, as a result of which we have acquired skills and insights which we now feel it is our responsibility to share more widely both within the existing farming community and for young people seeking a career in sustainable agriculture and food systems. Accordingly, we look forward to be able to host many events related to these themes and to work closely with the University over the coming years. 

I also wear another hat as founder and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, whose mission is to work internationally to accelerate the transition to more sustainable and resilient farming and food systems. In this connection, despite the more or less universal acceptance that there is an urgent need for our food and farming systems to be transformed to address the multiple threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, poor public health and growing food insecurity, this transition is not happening at the speed which is necessary to maintain our planet in a state which will secure the wellbeing of future generations. Over the next few years our work will focus on unlocking these barriers to change. Some of them are challenges which only governments and policymakers can address through the redirection of post-Brexit subsidies including regulatory reform and the application of the polluter pays principle which will collectively improve the economic environment for sustainable farming and food production. 

In parallel with this, there is also a need to invest in education, including ensuring that the public are better informed about the nature of the farming systems which will replace the ones we have at present and how they can realign their diets to support sustainable producers in the marketplace. Alongside this work, as I mentioned earlier, we believe that there is a need to create a national network of ‘beacon farms’ which can serve as an educational resource for re-skilling farmers and a stage for other cultural and educational events. 

In all these areas we believe that the work of the Sustainable Food Trust is entirely compatible and complementary with the future development of Canolfan Tir Glas, and we are delighted to consider ourselves a partner in this important work.

Patrick Holden
Chief Executive
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