I recently had the pleasure of attending, as a mentor, the Venture Creation Weekend focusing on food security, hosted by the Cambridge Judge Business School. What an event! Packed with energy and dynamism, I left the day deeply encouraged by the enthusiasm to solve some of the key food security challenges of our times through entrepreneurialism and social ventures.
As someone involved in agriculture, I was particularly pleased to see such curiosity about the growth and production of food, and the people involved in feeding a hungry planet.
But if you’re interested in food security, there’s a good chance you might not know much about what’s going on in the wider world of agriculture. If you’re not sure where to start, then below you’ll find 12 of the best ag accounts and initiatives to follow on Twitter and Instagram if you want to learn more about the industry and stay informed about the exciting things that are happening.
In no particular order, here they are…
People all over the world are starting to call themselves an ‘Agvocate’ – simply someone who is passionate about raising awareness of food and farming. Online, there is a growing global community of agvocates who tag #agvocate to share their stories and raise hot topics - a great insight into those who are championing farming now and in the future!
Hosted by Welsh farmer @WillPenriEvans, this is one of the best places to get precious insights into the people behind food growth and production. Tapping into current agricultural affairs whilst talking to people about how they got into agriculture in the first place, the podcast sheds light on the ways in which people in agriculture seek to build resilience in a time of significant change in the UK.
LEAF Open Farm Sunday is the farming industry’s annual open day. Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) manage the initiative, which reaches out to the public and encourages farms across the UK to ‘open up’ their farm gates and help families develop a greater connection to where their food comes from and how it is produced. You can even attend one yourself! The gates will be open 10th June this year. Simply click on this link and find out what’s going on in your local area.
FarmHer was set up by Marji Guyler-Alaniz in 2013 to challenge and change the image of agriculture by showcasing women in the industry. Since then, it has expanded into a community that has its own events, TV & radio presence, and even a clothing range! Although this is based in the US, it has been a source of huge encouragement, and empowered women in agriculture at a time when the industry is undergoing its ‘4th revolution’.
Hannah Jackson has a great story to tell, and is a brilliant story teller herself! Check out the Rock and Roll Farming episode where she talks about how she went from absolutely no farming background into full-time work with sheep. With the industry facing a skills shortage and labour crisis, the industry is opening up to talent and skill sets that do not follow the more conventional routes.
Another great place to explore the people behind the British agri-food sector, this account is managed by Harper Adams University student and scholar Emily Hickman, who, at the time of writing, is two issues into her latest initiative – the digital magazine People In Ag UK.
Handsfree Hectare is a cutting edge research project in its second year of growing a hectare of arable crop through remote digital farming. In practice, this means that nobody sets foot on the field, and the goal is to harvest a crop only using equipment such as driverless tractors and drones to monitor and manage the land. A great example of how the UK is responding to the 4th agricultural revolution!
Organised by Simon Haley (@halo42), each week Farmers of The UK is taken over by someone in the agri-food sector who shares their daily activities for the week. Some interesting discussion is always had, and the account has managed to attract all sorts of people across the industry that are willing to talk about everything from best practice farming techniques to engaging the next generation in agriculture and education.
Ian Pigott is a farmer practicing conservation agriculture in Hertfordshire and is a renowned education champion who provides excellent insights into new and exciting initiatives in agricultural education and outdoor learning, influencing public debate on food and sustainable agriculture.
The Youth Agricultural Summit is running for the fourth time in 2019, in Brazil, following a successful Summit in Brussels in Autumn 2017. Every other year, 100 global delegates aged 18-25 years old are selected through an essay competition to represent their country in a five day interactive event where they are tasked with finding sustainable solutions to some of the biggest food security challenges we face.
Paul Temple farms in North East England, and is a well-known ambassador of the agricultural industry. In January 2018, at the annual Oxford Farming Conference (which I also encourage you check out!), Paul was praised by the well-known botanist James Wong (@Botanygeek) for his communication skills on behalf of British farming– I think this sums him up very well, and shows why he is a must-follow farmer on Twitter.
Farmer Tom has been very active in sharing his passions for the outdoors, local food, and educating children about who the people are who work in agriculture, and why knowing where their food comes from matters. He is also a very active participant in shaping the future of agricultural policy.