In the wake of a pioneering publication showcasing why farming matters to the Lake District’s iconic landscapes for nature recovery and climate action, a new film follows in its footsteps.
The booklet What Did Farming Ever Do for Us? went to every one of the national park’s 1,246-strong agricultural community, which is transitioning from EU grants for food production to funding for public benefit.
Its author Lois Mansfield, University of Cumbria’s Professor of Upland Landscapes, said on the back of a successful rollout it was important to go further by illustrating the benefits of famed cultural landscapes created by farming.
“Farmers have the right to feel proud of what they achieve for the Lake District and the new opportunities they can embrace, highlighted in the 16-minute film What does Farming do for us?
“Their achievements in creating these landscapes cannot be over-estimated, the value to society is immeasurable.
“Our World Heritage Status recognises a rich farmed cultural heritage which we need to support and nurture.
“There is a wider issue too, of encouraging those who visit, live and work here to appreciate what those involved in agriculture bring to this world-renowned area.
“Their role is crucial in addressing the twin global issues of climate change and nature recovery.”
Narrated by South Lakeland farmer, Jim Webster, four national park farming businesses helped in the film’s making.
Professor Mansfield said she hoped it would give them and many others across the Lake District impetus and self-worth.
She added: “The booklet has gone down well.
“On my LinkedIn account alone, there were 2,400 hits and it’s had great reviews across the country, especially from land agents.
“There’s not a lot out there yet that isn’t academic, linking farming to climate change and nature recovery, showing pragmatic ways to give people ideas.
“We seem to be hitting the right balance and are confident the film will carry important messages forward.
“Co-ordinating access to farms at the tail of the pandemic brought challenges as this is a face-to-face, tactile project, but I’m very pleased with the outcome.”
Supported by Ecological Building Systems UK Ltd (Carlisle) and filmed by Rob Grange, partners in the project were the university-based Centre for National Parks and Protected Areas, National Trust, ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, Lake District National Park Authority’s historic environment team and Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association