Nestled in the heart of the Hertfordshire countryside, Groundswell is a practical two-day show, aimed at anyone who wants a greater understanding of the farmers core asset – the soil. The show featured talks, forums, discussions, and demonstrations from leading international soil health experts, a range of farmers, agriculture policy experts, and AgTech innovators.
Will Maslanka, Chris Short, and Charlotte Chivers attended Groundswell to discuss Natural Flood Management (NFM) research carried out by the NERC-funded LANDWISE project. Discussions surrounded the numerous elements of LANDWISE, including farmer engagement workshops, soil survey fieldwork, remote sensing and Radar rig, modelling, and web tool development.
Figure 1 Chris Short and Will Maslanka (left to right) manning the Landwise exhibit.
Overall, reception was good across the two days, with over 100 interested parties, ranging from farmers, members of water utility companies, policy makers (Defra), and catchment partnership groups attending the stall to ask questions, find out more, and to voice their opinions towards and experiences with NFM measures.
Figure 2 View of some of the stands featured at Groundswell 2022.
Away from the stand, there was much to see including stalls from Affinity Water, Defra, and a vast number of AgTech companies and innovators. We also had the opportunity to attend various talks and discussion panels across the two days, with speakers including George Eustice, secretary of state for Defra, Janet Hughes (also Defra), Henry Dimbleby, author of the National Food Strategy, Jenny Phelps (FWAG), alongside various soil-friendly farmers. A new topic for this year seemed to be the issue of carbon credits with at least 2 talks on both days covering this and a number of stands from companies positioning themselves to deal in carbon credits. The main message from the talks was that it is coming but a little way off so the best approach for farmers is to be ready and ‘know your soils’.
Whilst Groundswell is over for another year, you can still find out all about the NFM research completed by LANDWISE and the other NFM projects within the NFM programme, by tuning into the NFM Programme Website (https://research.reading.ac.uk/nerc-nfm/), which houses information about the three projects (LANDWISE, PROTECT, and Q-NFM), our NFM Webinar series, and other blog posts, as well as our NFM newsletters. You can sign up for our NFM newsletters here, to be kept up to date with resources as and when they become available.