Farm Gate Podcast
Farm Gate is the regenerative agriculture podcast, focussed on practical solutions for climate and food security. The topics covered are relevant for everyone who eats, but is particularly intended for farmers, food chain professionals, and policy-makers. Every week or two our host ffinlo Costain will bring our listeners stories of the people and solutions that is shaping a regenerative future for food and agriculture.
Farm Gate is a co-production between Farmwel and FAI Farms, and you can subscribe to Farm Gate wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Spotify, Breaker, and Google Podcasts.
Other Places to Listen
EPISODE 84, November 29th, 2022:
COP27 is over. Temperatures continue to rise. There's still no consensus about the role of land use and agriculture. Did anything good emerge from Sharm El-Sheikh in terms of food systems & climate change?
EPISODE 83, November 18th, 2022:
This is the third programme in a series in which I talk to regenerative dairy producers from around the world. ffinlo Costain speaks to Phyllis Van Amburgh, who farms at Dharma Lea in Sharon Springs, New York, USA, about epigenetics and vertical real estate - and to Charlotte and Russell Heald, from Dunkeld Farm in the Tararua region of the north island in New Zealand, about food forests and circular farming systems.
EPISODE 82, November 7th, 2022:
ffinlo Costain talks to Sir Dieter Helm CBE. Dieter is Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Economics at New College, Oxford. He was the Independent Chair of the UK's Natural Capital Committee, and was awarded a knighthood for services to the environment, energy and utilities policy.
EPISODE 81, October 20th, 2022:
Carbon tunnel vision is a nasty disease that can create a strongly distorted perspective on agricultural land use and food production. This programme will help to remedy the condition, by showing that land use decisions are complex. ffinlo Costain is joined by Adele Jones, the deputy chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, and by Ashleigh Bright, a food systems and sustainability scientist, based in New Zealand.
EPISODE 80, October 7th, 2022:
This is an edited recording of the Regen Dairy round-the-world tour webinar, which took place on 5th October 2022. We were thrilled to host this opportunity to circumnavigate the globe with four very different regen dairy farmers, all of whom are quite exceptional in their own way.
EPISODE 79, October 3rd, 2022:
Small abattoirs are essential infrastructure, but they're in serious decline - seen by the UK Government as a 'nice to have' that serves the middle classes, rather than a 'must have' to deliver climate, biodiversity and soil security - and to support rural economies and farming communities.
EPISODE 78, September 22nd, 2022:
Changing the way we manage hydrology is essential if we're to restore ecological security. This programme is the recording of a Food & Global Security Network webinar called, Restoring Water Cycles. It features globally renowned soil microbiologist, Walter Jehne, from Regenerate Earth, and regenerative farming coach, Caroline Grindrod, from Roots of Nature. The discussion is chaired by ffinlo Costain.
EPISODE 77, September 15th, 2022:
Jyoti Fernandes is from the UK Landworkers' Alliance and well-known as a campaigner working for the rights of small farmers and peasant farmers. Jyoti recently wrote an open letter to the Guardian writer, George Monbiot, whose book, #Regenesis, and the articles he's written to promote it, distort public awareness of regenerative solutions to the ecological crisis.
EPISODE 76, September 1st, 2022:
This is the second in a series in which ffinlo talks to regenerative dairy producers from around the world - as part of the Regen Dairy project, set up by FAI Farms and Farmwel, in collaboration with Unilever, Barry Callebaut, Arla Foods, Woolworth South Africa and Ben & Jerry’s.
EPISODE 75, August 17th, 2022:
Increased rainfall and storm intensity are hugely important characteristics of global temperature rises and the way land is managed can have an enormous impact on our ability to reduce flood risk. In this programme we're talking about natural flood defences and ways to manage water flows in the landscape.
EPISODE 74, August 8th, 2022:
This is the first in a series in which we talk to regenerative dairy producers from around the world - as part of the Regen Dairy project, set up by FAI Farms and Farmwel, in collaboration with Unilever, Barry Callebaut, Arla Foods, Woolworth South Africa and Ben & Jerry’s.
EPISODE 73, July 21st, 2022:
Many governments see farm expansion as the future of agriculture, but there's a grave risk that this will simply embed the challenges inherent in today's food system. Instead we need diversity - and small farms play a critical a role.
EPISODE 71, July 5th, 2022:
Most people live in cities, urban conurbations and housing estates rather than in cottages next to farms. How can we shorten supply chains into cities, bring food production to urban areas, and support volunteers and micro business opportunities for citizens, farmers and growers?
EPISODE 70, June 14th, 2022:
The war in Ukraine has sparked a food price crisis with devastating impacts being felt around the world - but while Russia lit the touch paper, this crisis was predicted and could have been avoided.
EPISODE 69, June 6th, 2022:
A regenerative agricultural and environmental transformation depends upon a resurgence of localism - but localism is also championed by far right politicians who pronounce their own vision centred on a tough approach to immigration. How we can safeguard food systems in a more ecologically chaotic world with accelerating human migration? Can we find a popular but inclusive vision of national localism?
EPISODE 68, May 5th, 2022:
In this programme, we discuss a feature film, Six Inches of Soil, which is currently in production in the UK. The film is being crowd-funded by organisations and individuals, and its producers want to ensure that - even as we are driven towards an ecological precipice fuelled in part by an industrialised food system - we recognise that the dirt beneath our feet is what feeds us and makes our societies strong.
EPISODE 67, April 7th, 2022:
In this programme, we're talking about meat, fish and protein alternatives - and the competing claims about sustainability that are made by individuals and vested interests across the food sector and around the world.
EPISODE 66, March 24th, 2022:
Demand for new woodland is growing for everything from timber to carbon sequestration. But forests take up space - and competition for land is increasing. How do we balance the demands of food production, nature, housing and infrastructure, with the need for new woodland and forest products?
EPISODE 65, March 11th, 2022:
In this programme, ffinlo Costain talks to Rob Percival, author of The Meat Paradox. We are not wild animals and yet we still kill other sentient creatures and eat them in their billions. Rob charts our relationship with meat, from the scavenging of carcasses on an ancient savannah to the industrialised systems that produce much of the meat we consume today. He finds that emotional conflict has challenged human consciousness for many thousands of years.
EPISODE 64, February 23rd, 2022:
In this programme, ffinlo Costain talks to Josiah Meldrum, co-founder of the successful on-line retailer, Hodmedods. Josiah works with British farms to source top quality beans, pulses and grains - particularly less well-known foods, like the fava bean, grown in Britain since the Iron Age, but now largely forgotten.
EPISODE 63, February 9th, 2022:
In this programme we focus on the UK and East Africa and discuss how the carbon market can channel finance from carbon sequestration and storage to help fund broader land regeneration.
EPISODE 62, January 27th, 2022:
Carbon farming is on the rise - but how does the carbon market work, and how does carbon sequestration and storage help to finance the delivery of other ecosystem services.
EPISODE 61, December 14th, 2021:
Despite the absence of food systems, soil and agriculture from the top negotiating table at COP26, these subjects did, at last, emerge as key themes at side events inside the COP conference village. The Glasgow Food & Climate Declaration - initiated by Nourish Scotland and IPES Food - was a key factor in pushing this focus on food systems up the policy agenda.
EPISODE 60, December 7th, 2021:
Was COP26 in Glasgow a success? In this programme we do a stock take. What was achieved at COP26 – in terms of global warming and agricultural land use? What was missing? What was fundamentally misunderstood at the top table? And what do we need to do next, to ensure that an agroecological transition is lifted firmly onto the negotiating table at COP27 and beyond?
EPISODE 59, October 6th, 2021:
ffinlo Costain talks to Vicki Hird - a farming expert and author who's been at the heart of environmental, food and agricultural policy discussions for over 30 years. Her new book, Rebugging The Planet, is set to be the must-buy stocking filler for Christmas this year.
EPISODE 58, September 21st, 2021:
Do farm animals experience emotions, or are the behaviours people perceive as emotions purely an instinctive response? Do cows, for example, feel happy or depressed? And should a farm animal's ability to react instinctively, or to respond emotionally, affect the way that we care for and handle livestock?
EPISODE 57, August 18th, 2021:
The best solutions for land use deliver multiple outcomes - especially in places where land is relatively scarce and expensive. What if we could combine the farming of electricity from the sun with land management that regenerates the soil and produces high quality nutrition?
EPISODE 56, August 2nd, 2021:
This year's UN Food Systems Summit is being seen by many as an opportunity to define the future of food. The summit may also be the launch pad for a new science & policy interface - what's being described as an 'IPCC for Food'. But do we really need an IPCC for Food? Shouldn't we simply better fund and better utilise the mechanisms we already have?
EPISODE 55, July 20th, 2021:
In this programme, ffinlo Costain discusses corporate sustainability and green wash, with Benet Northcote and Ed Gillespie. Is it possible for large companies to become genuinely sustainable - or will greed always triumph over green? Benet is a senior adviser at Seahorse Environmental and the deputy chair of the UK's Conservative Environment Network. Prior to that he was the director of corporate responsibility for the John Lewis Partnership, and worked as deputy private secretary to The Prince of Wales. Ed Gillespie is a facilitator for the Forward Institute and co-founder of the sustainability agency, Futerra. He is also a co-presenter of Jon Richardson and the Futurenauts and a director of Greenpeace UK.
EPISODE 54, July 8th, 2021:
FAI Farms and McDonald's UK & Ireland have won Compassion in World Farming's prestigious Sustainable Food and Farming Award for their work on regenerative beef. This is a four year project, centred on Adaptive Multi-paddock Grazing. The results have been outstanding - so what are they - how have they been achieved - and what has FAI learned along the way?
EPISODE 53, July 6th, 2021:
This podcast is about the power and importance of communities. To address the climate emergency, there is an urgent need to cede power to ordinary people so that they can design and deliver the changes necessary in their neighbourhoods.
EPISODE 52, June 29th, 2021:
The impact of climate change is already being felt by communities, through flooding and droughts. Farmers are the first responders to these impacts, as well as being one of the few economic sectors that can act as a sink, rather than a source, of carbon. So what are farmers doing happen differently on farms, and how can the UK speed this change?
EPISODE 51, June 14th, 2021:
Land Unlocked is a podcast collaboration between Farm Gate and the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission. This occasional series will feature a range of high-level speakers exploring the challenges of delivering real action at this year’s COP26 conference and other major global events taking place in 2021. Programmes will be broadcast on the Farm Gate channel.
In this programme, ffinlo Costain discusses land use, economics, optimism and story-telling, with Christiana Figueres and Professor Tim Jackson.
EPISODE 50, June 8th, 2021:
In this programme we delve into the origins of regenerative agriculture, and what it means to be 'indigenous with the earth'. What is this knowledge? Where does it come from? Can anyone claim ownership over regenerative principles?
EPISODE 49, June 1st, 2021:
In this programme we visit Sierra Leone. We discuss how this West African country managed to stop Chinese, Russian, Korean and European vessels plundering their fish stocks, how stakeholders built a sustainable fisheries programme, and the challenges for international organisations such as the World Bank. We also address the controversy over Sierra Leone's new Chinese-funded harbour project.
EPISODE 48, May 25th, 2021:
The Marine Stewardship Council is an international NGO working to protect oceans and safeguard seafood supplies for the future. The Netflix film Seaspiracy concluded that sustainable seafood doesn't exist - but the MSC disagrees. Currently, 16% of the world's wild caught fish is certified and carries its blue MSC ecolabel, and the organisation aims to have 30% engaged in its programme by 2030.
EPISODE 47, May 18th, 2021:
The Isle of Man is home to one of the most successful sustainable shell fish fisheries in the British Isles. Developed over a period of 30 years, their Marine Nature Reserve now accounts for 52% of Manx coastal waters, and their Ramsey Bay scallops are the biggest in Britain.
EPISODE 46, May 6th, 2021:
Since 2013 more seafood has been produced globally in aquaculture systems than from wild caught fisheries. The farming of fish at scale has come with costs as well as benefits, and as a relatively young industry, aquaculture has followed a steep learning curve.
EPISODE 45, April 21st, 2021:
In the wake of Seaspiracy, we're running a series of programmes about the future of wild and farmed seafood. The vast majority of wild caught fish are now harvested by industrial-scale trawlers using vast and often indiscriminate nets and bottom trawling. At the same time aquaculture, which has scaled so rapidly, has come under fire for high levels of waste and pollution and for poor welfare. So, what's next for ocean food?
EPISODE 44, April 14th, 2021:
This is the final programme in our recent series about agroecological agriculture. ffinlo Costain talks to David Finlay from The Ethical Dairy in Dumfries and Galloway, and Bryce Cunningham from Mossgiel Farm in Ayrshire. The conversation focusses on building a market for direct liquid milk sales, and on cow with calf dairying.
EPISODE 43, March 30th, 2021:
Do we need a new state-owned Agroecology Development Bank for Britain? The Food, Farming & Countryside Commission thinks so. Their new report, 'Farming Smarter: Investing in our Future', says that an ADB would speed the transition to fair and nature-friendly farming – by filling the current gap in available finance, and building knowledge about agroecological agriculture in the financial sector.
EPISODE 42, March 23rd, 2021:
In this programme we talk about racism, and discuss how to improve diversity in British agriculture and animal sciences. We consider how to successfully encourage more of our black, Asian and minority ethnic population to enjoy the countryside.
EPISODE 41, March 16th, 2021:
What's the difference between agroecology and regenerative agriculture? And what about holistic grazing, organic, no-till farming, or adaptive multi-paddock grazing? In this programme we get to the bottom of the terminology.
EPISODE 40, March 9th, 2021:
This is the fourth programme in our series about agroecological agriculture. ffinlo Costain talks to Sinead Fenton from Aweside Farm in East Sussex, and to Joe Rolfe, the general manager at RB Organic Ltd in Norfolk.
EPISODE 39, February 23rd, 2021:
This is the third in our agroecology series. ffinlo Costain talks to George Young from Fobbing Farm in Essex, and Johnnie Balfour from Balbirnie Farm in Fife. George and Johnnie are Agroecology Ambassadors for the Soil Association. This series is supporting the 10 Years for Agroecology campaign run by the Soil Association, and the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission's Farming for Change project. Other episodes focus on beef farming, mixed farming, dairy, and horticulture & veg.
EPISODE 38, February 16th, 2021:
This is the first of two programmes investigating the rise of meat alternatives. ffinlo Costain talks to Raychel E Santo, a senior research programme coordinator at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future. Raychel is the lead author on the research paper, Considering Plant-Based Meat Substitutes and Cell-Based Meats: A Public Health and Food Systems Perspective.
EPISODE 37, February 9th, 2021:
This is the second in our agroecology series, and in this episode we're focussing on mixed farming. ffinlo Costain talks to Ben Andrews from Broadward Hall in Herefordshire, and Robert Wilson from Cowbog Farm in the Scottish Borders. Ben and Robert are Agroecology Ambassadors for the Soil Association.
This series is supporting the 10 Years for Agroecology campaign run by the Soil Association, and the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission's Farming for Change project.
EPISODE 36, February 2nd, 2021:
In the second of Farm Gate's Regenerative Agriculture Question Time podcasts, ffinlo Costain is joined by Clare Hill, shepherd and director of regenerative agriculture at FAI Farms, George Young, a regenerative arable producer from Fobbing Farm, Essex, and Caroline Grindrod from the regenerative agriculture consultancy, Roots of Nature.
In this superb Q&A we talk regenerative cereals, pest control, out-wintering livestock & what regen farmers need from vets.
EPISODE 35, January 26th, 2021:
This is the first of five programmes in which we showcase farmers who are putting agroecology into practice. In this episode we're focussing on beef production. ffinlo Costain talks to Nikki Yoxall from Howe Mill Farm in Aberdeenshire, and Denise Walton from Peelham Farm in Berwickshire. Nikki and Denise are Agroecology Ambassadors for the Soil Association.
EPISODE 34, January 19th, 2021:
White Oak Pastures is a 152-year-old family farm in Bluffton, Georgia, USA. In 1995, Will Harris began the transition away from industrial agricultural techniques and started redesigning his farm as a living ecosystem.