FOOD and farming is key to both our health and that of nature and that is the thinking behind a People's Assembly coming to Ceredigion later this month.

The online discussion is being staged on Tuesday, June 23 at 6.30p and is being co-hosted by Elin Jones MS and Sarah Wright from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Cardigan.

Cabinet members from Ceredigion County Council and Ceredigion MP Ben Lake have confirmed their attendance.

There is a wide list of confirmed speakers from the NFU, FUW nd leading figures from sustainable agriculture and horticulture.

Subjects covered will include biodiversity, water management, policy and food supplies. Confirmed speakers include Glyn Davies, (NFU Cymru county chairman), Morys Ioan, (FUW county chair); Wyn Evans, (NFU livestock board vice-chair) and Patrick Holden, (the Sustainable Food Trust and early founder of the organic movement).

Following the speakers there will be in-depth small group discussion. On this occasion the small groups will be asked to consider three questions:

  • What might a sustainable farming system for Ceredigion look like?
  • What needs to change?
  • What might we do locally?

This type of working is known as deliberative democracy and is designed to allow everyone attending to listen to others and to have a say in the final outcome. It is a form of involving the public in important decisions that is becoming more recognised.

Each small group will document their discussion and report back to the main meeting. The purpose of the event is to bring together all of the different perspectives on farming in Ceredigion and come to a consensus on how to move forward.

This might include recommendations for possible policy changes.

Elin Jones MS said: “The future of food production and consumption in Wales is more pressing now than ever.

“Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and climate change have all highlighted the need to create and source sustainable local produce.

“In Ceredigion, many people have found ways to continue working under the current circumstances. There can be many lessons learnt from our shared local knowledge and experience.

“I hope that by bringing together voices from the agriculture sector and those concerned with environmental issues, this meeting will be able to bring together a shared vision for what the future of food production will look like in our area. Designing a sustainable local fodd network is more pressing than ever.”

The People's Assembly is planned to last for two hours, with the option to return if people wish to continue the discussion. The organisers know that this is an ambitious task for such a short time frame.

However, they hope that there may be some clear areas of consensus. At the very least it offers the opportunity to make connection with others.

Co-host Sarah Wright added: “In a field with so many differing viewpoints we are hoping that we can develop a shared vision, contributed to by all parties so that we can go forward ‘through a different door’ when we come out of lock-down.’’

Anyone with an interest in land, food or farming is welcome. Pre-registering is very helpful and to register go to:


Phone: 07904 387796