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Speaker Profiles 2023

Biopiracy; how corporations are stealing indigenous knowledge and patenting the natural world. Biopiracy is the unethical patenting of biological and botanical material for financial commercial gain. It’s a modern form of colonisation. Angie Bual will seed ideas and lift the lid on these global issues.

Angie Bual

Protecting the precious ancient grains of Wales at risk of extinction. For decades, Pembrokeshire Farmer Gerald Miles believed the once common black oats of Wales had been lost for ever. He published a request for seed in Farmers Weekly magazine and when this went unanswered, he began a mission of rediscovery that he calls “the search for the holy grain”.  In 2018, farmer Gerald Miles and Katie Hastings of the Gaia foundation, founded Llafur Ni (Welsh for ‘Our Grains’) and the organisation now has about 30 small-scale growers and farmers. Together they share land, knowledge and seeds to rediversify and strengthen the once rich supplies of unique Welsh cereals that populated the country’s farms and fields.

  • Come to Gerald's talk to find out about why diversity within ceral crops is important for us as consumers, as well as to help society meet future climate challenges

  • Gerald will talk about his journey to conserve rare oat varieties, and the work Llanfur Ni has been doing with the Welsh Plant Breeding Station at Aberystwyth University to bring rare and precious seed out of hibernation.

Gerald Miles

Gerald Says: “Farmers now have got to adapt to use less artificial fertiliser, fewer pesticides and farm more with nature. These ancient varieties – the cereals, barley, wheat and oats – have a role to play. They are ancient grains that were grown before artificial chemicals, and they can grow in low-fertility land. These are the seeds that will feed us through climate change.” 


Shortened and edited from this Guardian article for Bristol Seed Swap.  

Mike Feingold

Mike has been at the centre of Bristol’s practical permaculture community for many years.  He runs a thriving community orchard at Royate Hill, where he also has his own allotment. 

Mike teaches on the Shift Bristol permaculture course and co-ordinates large teams of volunteers every year to run practical permaculture areas at festivals including Glastonbury Festival. He’s also involved in redistributing unwanted food to communities in need across the city. 

Mike’s talk will focus on seed saving from ‘easy’ vegetables, as well as saving wild seed. He’ll also touch on the politics of seed saving. 

Mark De'Lissr

Mark De'Lisser

Often taking inspiration from the natural environment, poet Mark De’Lisser weaves words that explore the ever shifting tides of the human experience. 


Born in London and now settled in Bath, Mark has written professional commissions for the Bath Abbey and Roots Allotment, and regularly collaborates with musicians.

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