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Welsh food, farming and environmental organisations and charities will come together digitally this month as part of Green Recovery Wales. The free online festival, which will take place between 20 and 23 July, will put the spotlight on farming and land management, sustainable food systems and working together towards a greener future for Wales.

Green Recovery Wales will be an innovative virtual festival that will champion a post Covid-19 Green and Just Recovery, taking a look at the role rural Wales can play to ensure a sustainable Wales and the wellbeing of future generations.

The four-day festival will feature over 50 events including live panel discussions, blogs and vlogs by academics, discussions with environmental charities and farmers, as well as cookery demos, craft workshops and activities for children.

Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford will kick-start the festival with a special message of welcome. Other highlights will include a discussion with the Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, a live panel debate on the future of farming and nature in Wales, a cooking session with Sam and Shauna from BBC One’s Big Cook-Out, story time for children with presenters from S4C’s Cyw and videos from Iolo Williams and Gareth Wyn Jones.

The festival will be held at a crucial time in Wales. The Welsh Government is now looking for post Covid-19 recovery ideas and political parties are in the process of planning their manifestos for the May 2021 Welsh election.

RSPB Cymru head of land and sea pplicy, Arfon Williams, said:
“Green Recovery Wales is a brilliant way of bringing all those interested in farming and land management, food and nature together. We will look at how Wales can respond to Covid-19 and Brexit and develop a sustainable food system and address the climate and ecological crises. It’s a fantastic opportunity to champion a post Covid-19 Green Recovery and look at the role rural Wales can play to ensure the well-being of this and future generations. We’re facing numerous challenges and a green recovery will require unprecedented levels of understanding and cooperation, which we hope this festival will help build.”

CEO of Wildlife Trusts Wales, Rachel Sharp said:
“The need for transformative change, in the light of the climate and nature crisis and now a health crisis is clear. Lockdown has seen a resurgence in people’s connection to nature through daily walks and we have enjoyed cleaner air, confidence to cycle and less time in our cars replaced with more time with our loved ones. So how do we lockdown the best of lockdown? We will examine the big questions facing society; health inequalities, impending recession and how to achieve transformative change. Nature has a real role in facing these challenges and these four days will examine natures role in achieving a green and just recovery, come and learn how.”

Chief executive of Organic Farmers and Growers, Roger Kerr said:
“The food production, climate, ecology and health challenges we face are not insurmountable. Wales is bursting with excellent innovators working across the food system. Organic Farmers & Growers are proud to contribute to Green Recovery Wales and we’re looking forward to a week of informative discussions and presentations seeking to bring organic and agroecological methods to the heart of the future policy debate.”

Director of Wales for Coed Cadw Woodland Trust, Natalie Buttriss said:
“One thing we have all learnt over the past few months is just how important a high-quality environment is to us all. Looking to the future, we need to make sure that this economic recovery is different. If we respond to this crisis by trying to restart the old economy, we will leave ourselves open to the pressing risks of the climate change and ecological emergencies. We will lose the chance to reshape our economy in a way that uses natural solutions to keep us safe from flooding, to keep people healthy and to keep our land productive.

"Trees and woods are essential components for greening the streets of our towns and cities, supporting sustainable farming and creating a people and nature friendly economy. We need to recover from this pandemic by revitalising our efforts to tackle the crises we are in, but in a way that is compatible with nature.”

Chief executive of Food Farming and Countryside Commission, Sue Pritchard said:
“We have the policy framework in place for a green recovery. What we need now is an ambitious programme which builds on the leading-edge work already underway across Wales, and considers how we translate policy into more healthy, nutritious and affordable food, better connected and more sustainable farming systems (including agroecology) and an integrated planning and decision-making process for land use. Our panel events will launch FFCC’s Wales Report, part of a series of place-based inquiries around the UK and discuss how Covid has created new opportunities to make more rapid progress towards sustainable practices, with farming as a force for change.”

Assistant director of conservation for National Trust Wales, Rebecca Williams said:
“Collaboration is key if we want to secure a green recovery for Wales that delivers for the environment, people and business. We are proud to be working in partnership on the virtual festival and look forward to joining in with the discussions on the way forward for Wales.”

Head of policy and advocacy for WWF Cymru, Jessica McQuade said:
“The global pandemic has made clear a green and just recovery is the only way to secure a healthy future for people, and our planet. We look forward to sharing our ideas and exploring how this low-carbon, nature-powered recovery could be achieved in Wales. We need to work together, to build a stronger Wales, more resilient to challenges from pandemics to climate change.”

Ben Rawlence, chief executive of Black Mountains College said:
“Green Recovery Wales is an opportunity for Wales to speak, listen and collaborate to reimagine and build a stronger, more resilient society. Wales has the appetite, resources and potential to be a shining example of a country whose measure of success is well-being for all, and the planet.”

Green Recovery Wales will take place 20-23 July. To see the full schedule of events and activities, please visit the Green Recovery Wales website.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries contact Rory Francis, PR and campaigns manager Wales, at the Woodland Trust on 0343 770 5738/07539 322678 or via email at roryfrancis@woodlandtrust.org.uk

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters.

The Trust has three key aims:  

  1. to protect ancient woodland, which is rare, unique and irreplaceable
  2. to restore damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life
  3. to plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 29,000 hectares. Access to its woods is free. Further news can be found at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk