Watch: Meet the farmers who care for your National Park
August 30, 2018
“We want to introduce ourselves to the people who enjoy spending time here and end the perception that farmers are old-fashioned or unapproachable.” Dominic Gardner is part of a network of National Park farmers staring in short films about their work.
“Being a farmer makes you very aware that we’re only here for a short time but what we do can have a massive impact,” says Dominic Gardner, who runs Lee Farm, north of Worthing. “I want to run a business producing great, healthy food and helping wildlife to thrive but we can only do this if people support us.”
Dominic is one of six local farmers featured in this short film gives a unique insight into their work between the Arun and Adur rivers in the South Downs National Park. Nature doesn’t recognise farm boundaries so together the farmers are supporting endangered birds such as the lapwing, grey partridge and skylark. The area is also a focus for bringing the very rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly back from the brink of extinction.
Look out for each farmer telling their story on their land through an innovative trail of ‘watching & listening posts’ linked to short films about their work out in the South Downs. The films, supported by the National Park Authority, are the brainchild of 24 local farmers working together as the Arun to Adur Farmers Group.
Twelve posts have now been placed on public rights of way between the Arun and Adur rivers. Simply holding a phone (with NFC function switched on) over a picture on the post, or reading the QR code will reveal the film introducing the person responsible for caring for and working on that stretch of land.
British farmers face a huge challenge in the months ahead. They need to convince politicians and tax-payers alike that they deserve support when they’re no longer funded by the European Common Agriculture Fund (CAP). It’s unlikely that they will continue to be subsidised to grow food but what about the environmental goods they produce as custodians of our land – which we all benefit from?
“More than ever we need people to appreciate the value of the work farmers do in the National Park,” says Bruce Fowkes, Farming Officer for the South Downs National Park Authority. “The mosaic of fields and hedgerows you see in the South Downs’ landscapes draw in millions of people every year – but how many think about the work that goes into caring for them and the wildlife that lives here.
“It’s great to see our farmers working together and coming up with innovative ideas to tell the story of their work.”