Every crisis has a silver lining. Last summer, as we reeled from the Covid crisis, Ursula Billington, a sustainability activist in Bristol (UK), reached out to ARC2020. Were we interested in stories about community-based food and farming projects in her corner of South-West England?
Ursula’s stories of the sustainability movement couldn’t have come at a better time.
As we faced into a second wave of Covid and another round of restrictions in the autumn, struggling to picture the new normal, Ursula regaled us with tales of agroecological transition in and around Bristol.
A balm to our beleaguered spirits, these stories are tangible, practical proof that ecosystem-based approaches to food, farming and sustainability do indeed bear fruit for their patient protagonists – in some cases after decades of going against the grain of a productivist mindset.
In the spirit of ARC2020’s Letters From The Farm series, Ursula also widens the lens beyond the farm gate. Her focus on the people behind the projects and the wider community ties into broader issues of environmental and social justice, striking parallels with our Nos Campagnes en Résilience project in France.
What really comes across in these stories is the web of community that ties them all together, as the same names crop up like old friends. It’s a reminder of the importance of sticking together in the wake of another crisis – that of Brexit. Europe is, after all, more than the institutions of the EU – it’s we the people.
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