Promoting hill farming in rural communities: Lois Mansfield

Promoting hill farming in rural communities: Lois Mansfield

Promoting hill farming in rural communities: Lois Mansfield

Introduction

Upland regions of the UK rely heavily on farming and tourism to support their rural communities. But farming incomes are low, with hill farmers taking home on average £5,000 a year, and changes to UK agricultural policy may affect even this precarious position.

"My Fellowship enabled me to travel to Japan to understand how their government supports cultural capital." - Lois Mansfield, Fellow

University lecturer Dr Lois Mansfield (CF 2019) from the Lake District has been working to increase awareness of the cultural capital value of hill farming both nationally and regionally. Lois’ work is designed to help farmers realise the cultural assets that they have, such as buildings, heritage skills, food and other livestock products, so that they can be economically resilient whilst maintaining their culture, tradition and environment. Following her Fellowship, Lois presented her findings at the Northern Real Farming Conference in October 2020, and has been part of a National Heritage Lottery Fund bid to raise £11m to improve nature recovery in the Lake District and increase public engagement by promoting the importance of hill farming in maintaining the park landscape.

Lois has helped to draft the forthcoming Lake District National Park Partnership plan, a coalition of 25 organisations that are working together in the best interest of the National Park and World Heritage Site, its environment, communities, economy and visitors. Prior to Lois’ involvement, the park had no targeted research process to investigate challenges and find solutions to overcome them. Lois was tasked with writing the Research Framework and the Monitoring chapters, as well as facilitating the monitoring framework to ensure that the plan meets its objectives. In 2021, Lois was also nominated to chair the Technical Advisory Group for the Lake District World Heritage Site which is responsible for providing technical advice to the Steering Group that maintains the Lake District’s World Heritage Site status.

Working in the Lake District, an area of the UK which has a large hill farming community, Lois became concerned that upland farming systems were on the verge of collapse. Her Fellowship to Japan explored development opportunities for struggling upland economies in the UK.

Lois says, “There is still time to save, nurture and celebrate marginal hill farming in this country, by learning from other cultures that see solutions in different ways to our traditional approaches. My Fellowship enabled me to travel to Japan to understand how their government supports cultural capital in marginal hill farming areas.”

"My Fellowship enabled me to travel to Japan to understand how their government supports cultural capital." - Lois Mansfield, Fellow

University lecturer Dr Lois Mansfield (CF 2019) from the Lake District has been working to increase awareness of the cultural capital value of hill farming both nationally and regionally. Lois’ work is designed to help farmers realise the cultural assets that they have, such as buildings, heritage skills, food and other livestock products, so that they can be economically resilient whilst maintaining their culture, tradition and environment. Following her Fellowship, Lois presented her findings at the Northern Real Farming Conference in October 2020, and has been part of a National Heritage Lottery Fund bid to raise £11m to improve nature recovery in the Lake District and increase public engagement by promoting the importance of hill farming in maintaining the park landscape.

Lois has helped to draft the forthcoming Lake District National Park Partnership plan, a coalition of 25 organisations that are working together in the best interest of the National Park and World Heritage Site, its environment, communities, economy and visitors. Prior to Lois’ involvement, the park had no targeted research process to investigate challenges and find solutions to overcome them. Lois was tasked with writing the Research Framework and the Monitoring chapters, as well as facilitating the monitoring framework to ensure that the plan meets its objectives. In 2021, Lois was also nominated to chair the Technical Advisory Group for the Lake District World Heritage Site which is responsible for providing technical advice to the Steering Group that maintains the Lake District’s World Heritage Site status.

Working in the Lake District, an area of the UK which has a large hill farming community, Lois became concerned that upland farming systems were on the verge of collapse. Her Fellowship to Japan explored development opportunities for struggling upland economies in the UK.

Lois says, “There is still time to save, nurture and celebrate marginal hill farming in this country, by learning from other cultures that see solutions in different ways to our traditional approaches. My Fellowship enabled me to travel to Japan to understand how their government supports cultural capital in marginal hill farming areas.”