Creating farms fit for the future

The Ecological Land Co-operative has spent the last 12 years taking land out of conventional monoculture, and into small-scale, ecological agriculture. The results have been phenomenal, not just in improved soil health, biodiversity, and carbon sequestration, but also in productivity, in producing food that supports human health, and in reconnecting ourselves to nature. In this session I’d like to share some of the outcomes of the work, and ideas and opportunities that we’ve spotted along the way. And I’d like to get your collective input into the challenges, choices and dilemmas that we face.

Citizen audits and beyond: building local democracy

Research for Action has been working on a citizen debt audit in local authorities, and successfully contested expensive and risky bank loans to councils. In this session we will share experiences from our audit, especially how to use the rights residents have to inspect and object to their council’s spending.

We will also facilitate sharing experiences of accountability and participation in local government, ideas for improving them and ask how we can work together towards better local democracy.

Presented by Research for Action

Community led Housing

This session will hear about the growing community land trust network, and the community led housing movement more widely. We will discuss and explore the part it plays in solving global and local issues including climate change, loneliness, unemployment, poverty, placemaking, community.

Presented by The National Community Land Trust Network

Experiments in Shared Governance

How Transition Network and the international network of Transition Hubs are experimenting with non-hierarchical ways of working which make power more visible and distributed across groups, networks and organisations, help us access collective intelligence without sacrificing agility and enable us to work creatively with emergence and complexity.

I will share practical stories of innovative collaboration across difference and distance and make space for questions, comments and the experiences of others.

Presented by The Transition Network

Students as change agents for local community action

This session will explore the potential for higher education institutions to contribute to local environmental and social change through their student communities. Many students spend up to 3 years living in the communities surrounding their university, highlighting considerable potential to engage and involve students as change agents through partnerships between universities, students’ unions and community groups.

Students’ unions also include volunteering departments, providing social and environmental benefit and the potential to forge stronger relationships between students and the communities they live and study in.

Student voices will be represented through input from Keele students who have been involved in activities including climate marches, organising and delivering conferences focusing on environmental and social issues, collaboration for sustainability, and climate change, and involvement with environmental education programmes, to unpick opportunities to engage students, share their diverse knowledge, cultural experiences and passion, and ensure youth voices are included to drive sustainable change.

The session will be co-led by Keele’s Sustainability Project Officer and Keele Students’ Union’s Activities and Communities Sabbatical Officer.