Regenerative Food Systems (2) — sankalpa supported activity

Regenerative Food Systems

Nationwide, United Kingdom

Regenerative Food Systems is a sankalpa funded research group, working on a diverse range of issues that have been further highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research group was founded by a group of sankalpa changemakers, including Alex Tomlinson, in the summer of 2019. Research themes include regenerative and ethical terrestrial agricultural practices (which are presently gaining rapid traction in the UK and beyond); what constitutes a regenerative society; rethinking the way we presently harvest and farm fish and other food from the seas; engaging proactively with the veterinary profession to champion regenerative principles; understanding some of the barriers to uptake of non-conventional farming ideas; and educating consumers about food production in its broadest sense, and enabling them to source food from more regenerative systems.

Regenerative Food Systems (1) — sankalpa supported activity

From a planetary perspective, much of our food production, in its broadest sense, is contributing to biodiversity loss, global warming, deforestation, water scarcity, flooding, soil degradation, obesity, malnutrition, poverty, disease, and poor human health. In short, our planet is not in good shape.

Alex Tomlinson, Regenerative Food Systems

In 2013 Alex Tomlinson began working with FAI Farms characterising the interactions between a farm and its local wildlife. Elements of the work explored the positive and negative interactions; the drivers behind them; and the methods deployed to manage those interactions. Widening the application, sankalpa funded a study to assess the usage patterns of anticoagulant rodenticides to control rodent populations on UK farms. The findings of widespread year-round use were presented at an international conference in 2018 and published in the International Journal of Pest Management. The study established a platform from which to challenge perceptions about our on-farm relationships with wildlife.

In 2017, based on her knowledge of wildlife health and ecosystem functioning, and further research into land management practices, Alex was part of the foundations of Wilderculture. Wilderculture is a consultancy that takes an integrated approach to ecological restoration and food production in the British uplands.

Alongside her role at Wilderculture, Alex coordinated the operational aspects of sankalpa up until August 2019 — helping us to evolve, while also supporting and coordinating our many different changemakers.

Regenerative food systems may appear to be quite unrelated to some of the more spiritual aspects of our work at sankalpa. But reconnecting ourselves to our ecosystems through the food that we eat dovetails beautifully with many of the changemakers, and the projects they are involved with. It is by combining respect, complexity, dynamism, regeneration and diversity that we create sustainability.

Alex Tomlinson, Regenerative Food Systems

In addition to being part of this research group, Alex is currently applying her knowledge of regenerative systems to a number of projects, most of which involve partnership working with other sankalpa changemakers:

  • Working with several other individuals and organisations, characterising the sustainability (in human, animal and environmental terms) of the Ethical Dairy — a true ‘early adopter’ of a commercial ‘cow with calf’ method.
  • Working alongside the team at Vet Sustain to co-produce a book chapter ‘Sustainability: the role of the vet in aligning animal, human and environmental well-being’.
  • Chairing the Food and Farming Working Group of Vet Sustain to develop and deliver a suite of products tailored to livestock veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary students, and livestock producers.
  • New research into regenerative food systems in Asia, Africa and South America.

sankalpa has supported my personal development, it has been an assisting enabler — support, networks, finance, everything. sankalpa is a family of like-minded people with an aligned goal of seeking to create a better planet.

Alex Tomlinson, Regenerative Food Systems

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