Education for the future of food

By Carwyn Graves, Tir Glas, Lampeter

The gulf between people and the food we eat is growing at a time in history when we urgently need it to close. Surveys repeatedly show that the public supports a transition to healthy, sustainable food production – but practice lags far behind. At Tir Glas in UWTSD Lampeter, we believe that education at every age from primary to post-graduate and beyond is one of the indispensable missing links.


Education in today’s world has to recognize the complex realities of our situation globally and break down old barriers; between industry and academia, theory and practice, research and business. But it also must avoid going down the rabbit hole of assuming that knowledge alone is ever sufficient. To respond to the great challenges of our age, we need to rediscover the place of experiential, hands-on learning married with reflection.

The beautiful rural campus at Lampeter is situated at the epicentre of an area which has played a leading role in the advocacy and practice in sustainable farming systems for decades. Tir Glas will draw on the wealth of experience represented by local sustainable land managers and food producers, many of whom will use their own farms as educational stages for the practical elements of the provision.

Born out of an institution with a strong heritage of teaching and research in the Humanities, as Tir Glas grows on UWTSD’s Lampeter campus, it will draw on the depth and breadth of those disciplines, from anthropology to philosophy and beyond. The complex problems of the food and farming tradition need that grounding in human realities if they are to be addressed in a way that has any real sticking power.


But as we go on this journey in Lampeter we are delighted that we are not alone, and that much of the same ethos can be found in a growing number of academies and institutions across the British Isles and beyond. There is a shared aim to provide emergent food and farming leaders with a deep understanding of the way in which future farming and food systems, both nationally and internationally, could transition in ways which deliver positive climate, nature and social outcomes.

Innovative institutions like Black Mountains College in Powys are joined by the College for Real Farming in Oxfordshire to provide a breadth of perspectives on tackling the food and farming challenges. And at WRFFC 2023 our three organisations will be joining two well-established agricultural colleges – Glynllifon and Llysfasi – to discuss the training needs for future skills in food and farming.

Chaired by Robyn Lovelock, Agri-food and Tourism Programme Manager from Ambition North Wales, the session will explore how each of these educational institutions is engaging with and supporting learners to manage the opportunities and challenges facing the sectors from changing political, social, technological and environmental dynamics.

There will be no successful food and farming transition without a sea-change in education. Join us to discuss what the cutting edge of that change should look like in Wales today.

Tickets for this session on Thurs 2nd Nov are available here now.

Lluniau / images: Sophie Hancock, Tir Glas UWTSD