Tue, 14 Sept

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Meeting Minds Event

Rewilding an upland farm (and winning an RHS Gold in the process)

In this interactive session at Meeting Minds Sep 2021, Rachel Evatt (Balliol, 2000) talks about the practical elements of her project to restore a more natural ecological balance to her Derbyshire farm

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Rewilding an upland farm (and winning an RHS Gold in the process)

Time & Location

14 Sept 2021, 20:00 – 21:00 BST

Meeting Minds Event

About The Event

Born to Rewild: Rewilding an upland farm (and winning an RHS Gold in the process)

Rewilding is a passive form of land management, where nature-led processes help restore and reinstate ecosystems. It is also a positive action, whereby the tide of environmental decline in our landscapes is turned off almost instantaneously and nature is allowed to rush back in. Yet rewilding can be interpreted in different ways, and can sometimes be a polarising topic when taken out of broader context or applied rigidly. To Rachel and Geoff, who manage their farm, Sunart Fields, in Derbyshire, rewilding is restoring land to a more natural ecological balance, and doing so whilst working with neighbouring stake-holders to increase societal benefits (e.g.better footpaths/high-quality local meat/flood risk reduction). Whilst also a business, Sunart Field  is foremost their hands-on response to punch back at the biodiversity and climate crises.

During this event, Rachel will talk about the practical elements of their project, which is set in the context of the post-Brexit changing agro-environmental policy. She will talk about some of the highs (e.g. ~10,000 hedgerow plants planted this winter) and lows (e.g escaped pigs) of the work so far. She will also share details of their provocative Gold medal-winning RHS border entitled ‘Weed Thriller’, which was a distilled version of Sunart Fields created for the RHS Tatton Flower Show 2021. The garden generated interest from the national press and illustrated how even small patches of land or gardens can contribute to reversing ecological decline whilst still being beautiful, tended spaces

About the speaker:

Rachel Evatt (Engineering Science, Balliol College, mat. 2000, and Princeton Rhodes House exchange scholarship 2003) is a technology entrepreneur and spent her previous career founding and building internet companies. She ran Product at Skyscanner for several years and was part of that company’s £1.4bn ‘unicorn’ valuation sale in 2016. Most recently she has taken a significant career change after she and her husband Geoff Evatt (Mathematics, Balliol College, mat.1999) bought and began managing 125 acres of ex-dairy farm land in the High Peak, Derbyshire, to begin Rewilding. She is now an active land manager as well as a board member / trustee of the charity Rewilding Britain.

Please note this event is being held as part of Meeting Minds Sep 2021 and is only accessible to Oxford alumni registered to attend via the official Meeting Minds site.