Centre for Rural Economy

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Flowers can benefit farmers’ wellbeing

Can farmers’ social networks contribute to the success of agri-environment schemes and could taking part even contribute to their personal wellbeing?

Heidi Saxby is a volunteer grower and seed guardian for North Yorkshire’s Cornfield Flowers Project.

She observed how, by sharing their own expertise, farmers developed a real stake in the success of this local scheme.

It provided a case study for her dissertation for a Food and Rural Development Research MSc with Newcastle University’s Centre for Rural Economy.

Heidi said: “The farmers have become a unique community of expertise, now sought out by agricultural and environmental professionals wanting to know how to manage arable land for biodiversity.

"The farmers relish this role reversal. Outsider experts seek their advice instead of telling them how to manage an agricultural experiment station.”

Read more about her research in a blog for Sociology Lens.

Cornflowers grow among arable crops on a farm.
Heidi Saxby's study is revealing a joy for farmers in sharing their biodiversity expertise.

published on: 30 July 2018