The National Park’s newly appointed dedicated farming officer has been farming in Cumbria for the past 10 years. Andrea Meanwell is truly passionate about the Lake District and championing the importance of the future of farming in the area.
Andrea takes up the mantle of this important role with the Lake District National Park, while leaving her son Hector to manage the day to day running of her own busy sheep and beef farm.
She says: “This is an ideal opportunity for me to make a real difference to farming in the Lake District. I think it’s more important than ever that we remind them and each other that it’s great to be farming in the Lake District. We should all have a sense of pride in what we’re doing in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“Sheep have helped shape this amazing landscape and are important to our cultural heritage as well as biodiversity and in environmental management. Farming is what makes the Lake District distinct and we should be celebrating that. I can speak with an authenticity to farmers and have a genuine interest in developing the farming community to ensure that we are able to learn from each other and support each other going forward.
“I can’t wait to get out and about and speak to farmers and build an enhanced community so we can identify new and innovative ways we can work together. It’s important that we share best practice between us and I can’t wait to highlight the very many farming success stories out there.”
Andrea is also keen to highlight the reality of farming to other residents within the National Park and visitors to the area. She already has written a series of books on her experience of farming and regularly contributes to Cumbrian magazines on the subject she is so passionate about.
On her own farm in Low Borrowbridge, she regularly encourages the public to visit so get a first-hand feel for what farming entails and she hopes to encourage more local farmers to do the same. Andrea initially trained as a teacher so education is very important to her and is something she is looking forward to in this role.
As part of the Farming Officer remit, Andrea is tasked with ensuring great communication among farmers, stakeholders and other organisations and ensuring that farming is central to National Park policies going forward.
Andrea is skilled in partnership working and has been heavily involved with conservation education projects over the years such as Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Barrow’s Wild Side and Haymeadows. She will build on the great work already undertaken by the National Park’s former farming officer Briony Davey. Andrea will start as she means to go on with her new role and will be attending the Greenholme Show and the National Sheep Association North Sheep event near Skipton in her very first week, so she can start to develop the two way communication she so looks forward to in this new role.
Andrea Meanwell can be contacted on 01539 792675 or Andrea.Meanwell@lakedistrict.gov.uk