As the UK Government is set to return England to GM engineered foods, in Tayside farmers have been looking at a quite different way of farming: creating a Bioregion.
This puts ecology at the heart of producing food, the local economy, education and societal wellbeing.
A bioregion is a landscape defined not by political or economic but natural borders, and the aim of the Tayside Bioregioning initiative, co-initiated by Clare Cooper in 2019, is to reframe thinking and grow greater understanding of the impact of land management on every aspect of life.
Claire Cooper explained:
“A healthy ecosystem facilitates our survival, and we need dynamic widespread behaviour change to move towards more regenerative, resilient lifestyles. We currently have a broken economic model which is fuelling the climate crisis, threatening the food webs we depend on and impacting society and mental health.
“This learning journey brought together people from across Tayside to see how we can reframe our thinking and reorientate human activity in our locality to mitigate this decline. We want to introduce long-term strategies to address the twin concerns of climate and land-use change, and part of this is giving greater agency to the local community on issues that impact them most. This includes access to affordable, nutritional food, flood mitigation, fulfilling education or attracting regenerative tourism that leaves the area in a better state. By changing the frame, we can change the story.”
The first Tayside Bioregioning Learning Journey looked at how the local area could thrive and strengthen – economically and socially – by restoring natural landscapes and collaborating across urban and rural, and between sectors, to co-create solutions to climate change and sustainable livelihoods.
Bioregioning Tayside also wants to explore:
- how communities can help monitor landscape changes, a biodiversity and carbon collective
- how Regenerative Tourism can grow in Scotland – visitors help leave places in a better state than when they arrived through being mindful about the carbon footprint of their travel, their impact on host communities and the natural environment and volunteering on ecological or social projects.
The idea behind a carbon collective is to democratise carbon capture and allow smaller landowners and farmers to sell at scale as carbon trading accelerates. The collective would also contribute a percentage of sales in community benefit payments, similar to community wind farms.
The next Bioregioning Tayside learning journeys, open to all interested parties, are:
Date: 30th June 2022m online 4-5pm: Change the frame, change the story – Can Tourism Help Tayside #RaceToZero
Date: 2nd July 2022 Alyth 12.00-4.00pm – What Will I Do When The Waters Rise?
Date: 14th July 2022, online 4-5pm – How can participatory science bring new solutions to ecosystem restoration?
For more information on Bioregioning Tayside or to register for these events see www.bioregioningtayside.scot