Cllr Jake Berriman will be attending the Wales Real Food and Farming Conference, where he will hold a talk about how Powys’ farm estate and planning frameworks are changing to accommodate and support small horticultural enterprises. 

Held at Coleg Cambria, Ruthin, the two-day conference will take place from Wednesday, November 1 at the college’s land-based Llysfasi site.

Now in its fifth year, it will open with an address by former BBC economics correspondent Sarah Dickins, who is in the Net Zero 2035 food challenge group and is a ‘making sustainability happen' member.

She said: "Food production has a central role to play in the fight to slow down climate change. The way that we grow crops and rear animals , food processing and food supply chains form a considerable part of UK carbon emissions.

“At the same time farm worker incomes in Wales are low and for many others availability of affordable fresh food is a challenge. However we have the opportunity to change our systems in the way that can help households, communities and the planet.”

The programme includes sessions on a wide range of topics across food and farming, including wildlife and farming, school meals catering, county farms, horticulture, water management, community food projects and the cost of living. It will ask how we can create better opportunities to grow more food sustainably in Wales. 

Talking on the situation Powys finds itself in, Cllr Jake Berriman said: "Powys is the largest and most sparsely populated county in Wales with a population of 133,200 people. We are the definition of 'rural' with 58.7% of our residents living in villages and dispersed settlements, with more roads and more car ownership than anywhere else in Wales.

"Powys faces an ageing demographic, the average age being 50.6 years, 8.2 years higher than the Welsh average, and the average age of Welsh Farmers is 60, with just 3% of farmers under the age of 35. Powys struggles to retain and attract shrinking working-age population.

"Powys Council has declared climate and nature emergencies and through our Stronger Fairer Greener Plan, we are seeking a sustainable future for the people of Powys. Geo-political instability and volatility in world food markets is Powys’ Problem too.

"Post Brexit trade deals signed with New Zealand and Australia have increased threats to our livestock farmers. British people eat the most processed food of any country in Europe with over 50% being classified as ultra-processed food, with the Eat Lancet report advising we need to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by 75%. 

"Only 2.7% of croppable land in the U.K is used for horticulture, and Wales only supplies 6% of its own fresh food into public procurement. In Powys, subsidy accounts for about 50% of farm income, our farmers only get about 6% of the added value of what they produce.

"Land prices in Wales are the highest in the U.K. and opportunities for new entrants to farming few and far between. Agriculture accounts for around 12% of Wales’s GGE, higher proportionately in Powys due to our sparsity.

Cllr Berriman went on to discuss Powys' strategy for climate change, he said: "The Strategic Action Plan for Welsh Horticulture recognises the potential to deliver many environmental, social and economic benefits.

"Powys’ Strategy for climate Change, targeting net zero by 2030, sets out some clear actions for our Farm Estate: being net zero by default; encouraging local food growing initiatives to build food security; supporting organic and regenerative agriculture, and supporting those who want to convert land in Powys to horticulture. 

"The younger generation especially, lack access to suitable land, whilst Powys has the Largest Farm Estate in Wales, Cir: 135 holdings and over 10,000 acres, this provides ample scope to explore wide ranging uses, carbon, energy and water capture, biodiversity enhancement, and, of course attracting new younger growers into horticulture.

"Work Powys is exploring through its Future Farms initiative that will pilot the benefits of growing more fruit and veg to serve local markets, demonstrate the advantages of partnership working to match supply and demand, whilst using the farm estate to test proof of concept. This I think will be good for people, places and nature. 

"The works is also exploring the barriers to new entrants to this sector and with others looking at bringing forward new planning guidance, creating positive planning outcomes in Powys and beyond."

Tickets for the Wales Real Food and Farming Conference are now available.

The independent conference is brought together by a team of staff and volunteers from a range of relevant organisations passionate about developing and supporting sustainable, equitable and resilient farming and food systems.

For more information or to sponsor the conference visit

conference or email [email protected], or call Jane Powell, 07929 857173



Gold: Organic Farmers & Growers, Soil Association Cymru, Landworkers' Alliance, Tir Glas

Bronze: Whole Health Agri, PLANED, Garden Organic.