Knowing to grow
Increasing the resilience of plant-centred food production skills.
Knowledge and skills are essential for growing and producing food. Ensuring their future availability is therefore vital for resilient agri-food systems.
This project considers how to meet knowledge requirements for future food supply chains, focusing on the case of horticultural production. It will draw on international experiences and stakeholder expertise to inform strategies to enhance food security in Wales and beyond.
A focus on horticultural production - large-scale growing of fruits and vegetables - will reveal how knowledge flows through agri-food systems. This will characterise risks of shortages or losses of essential skills which threaten long-term resilience, in the context of global food security. International comparison will inform analysis of the Welsh context to reveal success factors required for a step-change in skills provision.
The research aims to enhance the resilience of knowledge and skills dimensions of agri-food systems by informing policy, theory and practice. It will contribute characterisation of skills employed in contemporary food production. Beyond the specifics of agri-food this addresses how industrialised work is typically understood as low skilled. Through a networked perspective on skill it will consider how materials including plants affect knowledge flows.
The project commences in October 2018 for three years. It is part-funded by Cardiff University and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.
Horticulture in the UK - Characterising Knowledge Ecosystems
Research Report 2022
Horticulture in the UK - Resilience to and beyond pandemic
Research Report 2022
What will enhance resilience?
Bilingual research findings summary
What skills challenges do growers face?
Exploring opportunities for farmers in Wales to produce foods for future markets - Executive Summary
Exploring opportunities for farmers in Wales to produce foods for future markets
Keeping and improving seasonal workers
A case study on EC Drummond, a family farm in Herefordshire.
Developing the next generation of experts
A case study looking at G’s Fresh, one of Europe’s largest fresh produce companies.
Building and owning as a team
A case study looking at Riverford Organic Farmers' efforts to make workers feel part of the business.
Working Paper 1 The state of horticulture in the UK
This briefing focuses on those growing fruit and vegetables – the edible or production sector. It summarises the most recent available data on the state of the sector, presenting a picture of its economic, social and environmental contributions.
Knowing to Grow: Increasing the resilience of plant-centred food production skills
Report of Workshop One - 4 June 2019.
The state of skills for UK horticulture
This briefing focuses on the horticultural workforce, summarising the best available data on work and skills in the sector, including reported shortages.
What is the problem with horticultural skills in the UK?
The nature of the challenge.
What will solve the problem with horticultural skills in the UK?
Strategies for addressing the challenge.
The project is led by Dr Hannah Pitt, Sêr Cymru II Research Fellow at the Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University. The project mentors are Prof. Terry Marsden and Prof. Gillian Bristow.
Interested businesses, researchers and other stakeholders are invited to contact Dr Hannah Pitt for more information.
Find out more about the Knowing to grow project