Biodiversity in Wales has collapsed over the last 4 or 5 decades. This became blatantly clear on the publication of the State of Nature report in 2013. No-one articulated this more strongly than local Welsh naturalist Iolo Williams when he spoke at the Senedd in 2013:
In our response to the changing climate and the loss of biodiversity it is apparent we need new models and approaches. Ones that restore depleted soil carbon, reduce flooding and reverse erosion and that protect and enhances biodiversity.
Permaculture is a design approach that has nature at its heart and increasingly we have been applying these ideas to more and more challenging situations and at greater scale. Sector39 are currently building a coalition of partners to take on a 124 acre hill farm on the edge of the Berwyn mountains here in Wales with the specific aim of creating a model for regenerative farming that could perhaps lead the way in land reform and demonstrate how a diversity of incomes can lead to a diversity of biological life on the farm.
We have 25 years of housing co-operative experience and community building and this would give us the chance to couple this experience with large scale habitat restoration. We have 2 objectives; one, to establish a trust to purchase this unique farm and hold it in perpetuity, and two, that we can establish a land based community to live and take care of the land.
The Trust needs to secure £400,000 in investment to secure the land for the project itself to go ahead. We already have finance in place for the actual project itself. As a training and teaching organisation we don’t anticipate any problems recruiting members to the project or tenants for the farm and buildings.
This unique farm takes in a whole water system, several springs and 124 acres of land, not all of which has been ploughed and ‘improved’ with fertilisers and rye grasses. Rather than see it disappear under the uniformity of even more ‘sheep monoculture’ our vision is to take it in the other direction; finding economic and responsible ways to restore diversity and create new possibilities for farms on especially marginal and upland locations.