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Farmer John Kempf among other headline speakers announced for upcoming Groundswell Festival

03/05/2024

Tickets have gone on sale for this summer’s Groundswell Festival.

John Kempf, Founder and Chief Vision Officer of Advancing Eco Agriculture and host of the Regenerative Agriculture Podcast is set to present for the first time at this year’s Groundswell event. 

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He expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “I’m looking forward to connecting with the many innovative UK growers I have had conversations with, sharing what we’re learning at AEA, and learning about regenerative agriculture in the region.”  John will be presenting several sessions at the show including an in-depth series for advanced practitioners of Regen ag. 

HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh has also been confirmed as a speaker. HRH, who is Honorary President of LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) visited the regenerative farming event last year and was inspired to return in 2024 as part of a panel discussing inspiring the next generation of sustainable food producers.

Groundswell Event Director Alex Cherry said The Duchess’s return reflected the genuine interest she had shown on her previous visit. “HRH is knowledgeable about farming and has a real passion for encouraging the next generation,” said Alex. “We are all absolutely thrilled and honoured that she is returning, and I am sure she will make a valuable contribution to the discussions.”

Groundswell is a two-day event, taking place over June 26th and 27th, providing an opportunity for farmers and anyone interested in food production or the environment to learn about the theory and practical applications of regenerative systems including no-till, cover crops and re-introducing livestock into the arable rotation – all with a view to improving soil health. In short, it is a practical show aimed at anyone who wants to understand the farmer’s core asset – the soil – and make better-informed decisions.

It takes place on the Cherry family farm in Hertfordshire, where Paul and John Cherry admit their no-till farming system stemmed from an urge to avoid “bouncing around on tractor seats,” a move that ignited an obsession with improving the soils on their 2,500 acres.

Groundswell has a festival feel with overnight camping and various live acts in the evenings, making it a real social event with over 10,000 pints of beer served in the Earthworm Arms Bar last year.

In 2023 Groundswell welcomed 6,600 attendees and maintains the friendly atmosphere by not expanding significantly year-on-year. The showground has also been reshaped to make it easier for visitors to navigate the 16 session venues and 300 stands, along with a brand-new glamping field and improved camping facilities.

“We are finding more and more attendees from non-farming backgrounds are showing an interest in regenerative agriculture and it’s a welcome stimulus to increase diversity and diversification into the industry.” says Alex Cherry. 

A line-up of 250 speakers, including leading international soil health experts, experienced arable and livestock farmers and agricultural policy experts, will be attending this year’s Groundswell. Taking to the stage from Canada, will be regenerative farmers Derek and Tannis Axten, who have built a food-grade seed cleaning plant, flour mill, and packaging line on their farm to add value to their grain. Josef Holzer will be attending from the Austrian Alps, where he has developed theKrameterhof farm, a world-renowned permaculture showcase project. There will also be lots of practical demonstrations from direct drills and machinery innovators. 

“Visitors always find the energy and enthusiasm at Groundswell contagious,” says Alex. “It creates a momentum that never fails to sweep people up in a feeling of positivity about the future of the agricultural industry.”

Professor Tom MacMillan is Elizabeth Creak Chair in Rural Policy and Strategy at the Royal Agricultural University and is helping to co-ordinate – through his involvement with the Agricultural Universities Council – a new discussion tent at Groundswell called The Study, hosted jointly with independent knowledge platform Agricology.

“We will be bringing 100 agriculture lecturers from universities across the country to share research results and hear from farmers, getting them out of the lab and lecture theatre, exposing them to fresh ideas. We’re teaming up to make sure agricultural degrees are bang up to date and that we’re equipping students with the know-how, critical thinking, and inquisitive mindset that farmers at Groundswell have in spades.”

Tickets are now on sale at www.groundswellag.com with the event selling out every year..

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