UPLANDS: A free evening will be held at Utass, where an update will be provided on the Hefted to Hill project
UPLANDS: A free evening will be held at Utass, where an update will be provided on the Hefted to Hill project

A FREE evening of discussion, song and sausage casserole will take place at the end of the month.

Ewan Allinson and those involved in the Hefted to Hill project are inviting farmers, their families and anyone interested in hill farming to join them for this free event at Utass, in Middleton-in-Teesdale on Wednesday, November 27, from 7pm.

The Hefted to Hill exhibition in churches in Teesdale and Weardale in July, featured the voices of seven hill farmers accompanied by photographs of them by Louise Taylor and Richard Glynn, of Wideyed Collective.

The project was funded by the Northern Heartlands Great Place Scheme. The aim was to convince policy makers of the importance of hill farmers’ knowledge.

Mr Allinson has since taken the message to Westminster where he gave a presentation to senior Defra officials and key upland lobbyists on the project’s findings.

Mr Allinson said: “By turning up for this free supper, and joining in the conversation, you show support for this message, meaning it can’t be ignored.

“Environmental policy-makers are all agog with the idea of the natural capital in the uplands but no one’s pointing out the social and intellectual capital of the people that live there.

“Pull that expertise and nous into your policy-making and you’ll transform the cost:benefit ratio of your environmental spending.

“Hefted to Hill is making that point through an imaginative approach with one eye on treasury chiefs – such that they add the knowledge within upland farming to our GDP, alongside that of universities.

“The public too needs to be educated about this value. Indeed this might be the best route for securing taxpayers’ endorsement for giving farmers proper recompense for the land-husbandry that flows from their ‘hefted’ knowledge.”

The event will include an update on the project as well as a talk by Howard Petch, the former Principal of Bishop Burton Agricultural College.

Discussion in roundtable groups will allow everyone to have their say.

“All this deep thinking should get tummies rumbling, but before we sit down to eat, local duo Michael Tarn and Andrew Bousfield are going to entertain us with two local songs – including a revival of the bawdy morality tale High Force Agricultural Show. The chorus sing-a-long will prove irresistible,” said Mr Allinson. “Refreshments will be served but if you would like something a little stronger to wash down your supper, please feel free to bring your own tipple.”

To attend register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/hefted-to-hill-supper-event-tickets-78592423053 or call Utass on 01833 641010.