Showcasing sustainable farming techniques near Abergavenny.
A fear of the impending impacts of climate change on society, and a desire to do something about it persuaded a graduate to purchase a 141-acre farm on the Welsh borders with a view to establishing a showcase for alternative agricultural techniques. To do it, Huw had to win the support of his father, convincing him to mortgage the family home in order to set up the project. Now, Huw wants to use Three Pools Farm near Abergavenny as a demonstration site for people to see new, sustainable farming techniques in action.
We met Huw at the Oxford Real Farming Conference and asked him about it.
Huw studied water, land use and permaculture as part of his engineering course at university and spent the final years of his course studying farming. “I didn’t realise it at the time,” Huw said “but I was actually working on my business plan for Three Pools Farm all that time.”
Huw hopes that a successful and viable Three Pools Farm will boost the profile of permaculture and biodynamic farming in the UK and prove to other farmers the value of sustainable farming practices. Both techniques promote the use of natural rather than chemical fertilisers to create better, more nutrient-rich soil and high quality, healthier produce. Permacultures use sustainable energy sources, recycle water and seek to eliminate waste. Making Three Pools Farm fully diverse – mixing agricultural production with events and tourism – should make the business more sustainable and less reliant on subsidy.
Huw said: “The current agricultural system is not fit for the 21st century; it will not be able to continue providing food into the future. Meanwhile it harms the land, air and water, lets down the people who work within it and has to be propped up by agricultural subsidies.”
“We want to lead by example and show how the UK’s approach to agriculture can be redesigned,” he said.