British custodians of soil, sea and seed will be celebrated in a major arts projects that launches today. We Feed The UK pairs award winning photographers and poets with the UK’s most inspiring food producers and regenerative farmers, showcasing their positive solutions to climate change, the biodiversity crisis and social justice.
Coordinated by The Gaia Foundation, We Feed The UK brings together over 40 partners from the environment and arts sectors. The series tells ten time-critical stories across urban, rural and coastal areas, ranging from multi-generational, Black-led growing projects in London, to a majority-women workers cooperative in Edinburgh, via sustainable fishing along the South Coast.
The project follows The Gaia Foundation’s previous ‘We Feed The World’ exhibition, which celebrated smallholder farmers across the globe to bust the myth that we need industrial farming to survive. We Feed The UK focuses in on England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, using the power of photography and poetry to change perceptions and support a nationwide transition to regenerative agriculture.
“Farmers and food producers are crucial players in our fight to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises.” says Ally Nelson, Project Lead for We Feed The UK at The Gaia Foundation. “Across the UK, regenerative farmers are galvanising communities to think differently about how we produce and consume our food.”
“With exhibitions taking place across the UK in 2024-25, We Feed The UK will help the public cultivate a stronger connection to local food, and influence other farmers and food producers to transition towards regenerative practices.”
Art partners of the project include Belfast Expose, Street Level Photoworks and the Martin Parr Foundation. The Gaia Foundation, in collaboration with each arts partner, has commissioned photography from ten acclaimed photographers for exhibition across the UK in 2024-25. The series launches at the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool on 8th February.
Alongside the photographers, The Gaia Foundation and award-winning Hot Poets collective have co-commissioned ten poets to tell the stories of each producer, bringing them to life via live performances and videos shot on location.
Liv Torc, award-winning spoken word artist and co-director of the Hot Poets said: “Through our collaboration with We Feed The UK and their amazing photographers, Hot Poets aims to be the words beneath the wellies, elevating the stories of ten UK regenerative farmers in a powerful new poetry collection, filmed on the land and available for everyone to watch, feel and share.”
Despite a backdrop of post-Brexit changes, climate chaos and a cost of living crisis, the farmers and producers featured as part of We Feed The UK are flourishing. The project aims to show that nature-friendly and community centric farming practices are at the root of our future resilience, even in one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, where less than half of our biodiversity remains.
“We Feed The UK is important in getting positive stories to the public – the current vilification of farmers needs to stop,” says Northumberland’s Stuart Johnson, Soil Farmer of the Year 2023. “There are small pockets of us trying to be better, which We Feed The UK can help the consumer see and understand, whilst also offering hope to farmers stuck in an imperfect system.”
Aligned not-for-profit partners in the environmental sector – including the Nature Friendly Farming Network, Action for Conservation and The Landworkers Alliance – bring evidence to support themes including carbon sequestration, mental health benefits, intergenerational leadership and food justice, educating the public while supporting ‘on the fence’ farmers to join the movement.