By Ben Laughlin, UK correspondentThe BBC has launched a programme called ‘It is like being on a pirate crew’ which aims to inspire young people to think differently about the future of agriculture.
The BBC’s Digital Innovation Lab aims to equip young people with the skills needed to work in an industry that has long been dominated by the old, hierarchical model of farming.
It is a new initiative that has been funded by the Innovate UK initiative, a coalition of leading businesses including Amazon, Microsoft and Starbucks.
‘This is about creating a generation of people who will make a difference,’ said Steve Baker, the programme’s director.
‘The best way to do that is to start thinking differently about what you are going to eat and how you are doing it.
‘We are making it easier for people to be in the industry.’
The programme will be launched on Thursday, February 2, at a special launch event at the National Farmers Union’s headquarters in Glasgow, the UK’s second largest city.
‘What we are doing here is setting the bar for the future, we are making the case for a new way of thinking about farming that doesn’t just depend on big-scale agribusiness, which is dominated by multinationals like Monsanto, but which also reflects the aspirations of the young people who are here today.
‘They are all hungry for a better future, they want to be part of that future, and they are hungry for that future to come in a way that is sustainable, that doesn.t compromise on their health and safety and that is not dependent on their lifestyle.’
In the future the future looks more like a future of sustainability, said Baker.
‘In many ways it is like a pirate fleet.
It’s like the pirate crew, the one that has the right gear, the right crew, a good attitude and the right ship to go and find new ways to make money.
‘It would be wonderful if this idea of a sustainable future could spread across the whole of our economy.
‘I think the biggest lesson that we can take from this is to think more about the whole future.
We are a long way from this, but it’s a start.’
The initiative will be run by the BBC Digital Innovation Labs, which provides research and development to the BBC’s digital services, including online, TV and mobile.
The Digital Innovation Laboratory was launched by Innovate Britain in 2014.
It aims to help create a more diverse and inclusive world by helping the BBC build a more sustainable future.
The programme is funded by Innovative British, which was founded in 2010 and is a partnership between the BBC and major British companies including Amazon and Microsoft.
‘Digital innovation in this country has been under pressure over the past few years,’ said Paul Geddes, the group’s director and a former business executive.
‘People have been asked to invest in a lot of projects that they have no idea how they are going the money won’t be there for them and they will be left behind.
‘But what we have found is that innovation happens in small ways, and in the right hands, it can be transformative.
‘To me, this is what the future is all about.
We need to think bigger and think more.’
A survey by the UK National Farmers union found that three-quarters of respondents said they would like to see a shift towards the more sustainable model of agriculture in the future.
‘A future of sustainable agriculture can only come about when the farmers are fed a wider variety of food sources and with a wider range of animals,’ said Karen Taylor, the union’s chief executive.’
We need to do everything we can to make sure that the farmers have a wider array of food options and that they are supported to do so by their local government.
‘If we do not make the shift in this direction, then the next generation will be a generation that is left behind.’
The group hopes the programme will make young people aware of the challenges of farming and to encourage them to take up their roles in the local economy.
The group is looking to support the work of a team of young farmers and farmers’ organisations across the UK.
The team includes the BBC Wales farm team, the BBC Midlands and the BBC Cumbria team, who are also working to develop their farm skills.
The project is part of Innovate Wales, a £100m programme to create a digital economy for Wales and will include a range of projects including a digital training programme and a digital hub.
Innovate Welsh’s head of strategy, Stephen Evans, said: ‘The idea is to help young people see how their own skills, their own experience, can be put to work.
‘These are all skills that young people need to be building a sustainable economy and helping them become successful farmers.
‘Young people need this kind of knowledge to make it through their education.
They need to know about the science of farming, how to plan their farming operations, how they can be the most efficient