27th June saw a unique gathering on the House of Lords terrace in the Palace of Westminster as the wider GWCT community came together to celebrate thirty years of the Allerton Project. Having only myself worked at Loddington for the past twelve months, I felt privileged to be a part of the team while celebrating this landmark birthday, especially when considering the scale of the contribution the Project has made to the cause of sustainable farming and game management over the past three decades.
The reception was kindly hosted by the Earl of Caithness, who was joined in speaking by the Rt. Hon Lord Richard Benyon, currently in government at Defra, Sir Jim Paice, chair of the GWCT board of trustees, and Teresa Dent, CEO of GWCT. They were joined by members from across the House, including Allerton’s own Melton & Rutland MP Alicia Kearns, as well as friends and colleagues of the Allerton Project from across its distinguished history and from all corners of the country.
Allerton Director Dr Alastair Leake was singled out for particular recognition and thanks for his long and successful leadership of the GWCT’s flagship site, while Lord Benyon in particular made reference to the huge impact the Allerton Project has had on agricultural and land use policy since 1992, with successive governments finding the empirical data produced on the 320ha working farm and research establishment invaluable in formulating effective policy.
It’s clear to me that, with the direction of travel of agricultural and environmental policy and the imperatives afforded by the climate crisis and biodiversity and habitat loss, the key tenets of the Allerton Project’s first thirty years – sustainable, climate and nature-friendly food production – have never been more relevant nor our expertise in more demand. I hope that the knowledge which we have built up over the first three decades of our existence will help more and more farmers make the transition to a more environmentally and financially sustainable future in the next three.
Joe Stanley, Head of Training & Partnerships, the Allerton Project
The Allerton Project researches the effects of different farming methods on wildlife and the environment on our 320 hectare demonstration farm based in Leicestershire. Our work covers natural capital accounting, agri-environment schemes and regenerative farming systems with the aim to build farmland resilience. In essence, the Allerton Project is an award winning, pioneering blueprint for future rural landscapes.