Viv is secretary for the Federation of Cumbria Commoners, an organisation that is led by its members, and dedicated to promoting commoning in Cumbria. She is passionate about improving the viability of hill farming on common land, and works hard toshare up-to-date news about policies and initiatives with the members.
Farming on common land leads to a distinctive type of farming, where cooperation is key. Viv witnesses the joy and rewards of farming on the Cumbria hills, and is involved in bringing together the next generation, in Cumbria Young Commoners.
She also witnesses frustrations when difficulties arise because of changes in policy that affect finances and stocking levels. Viv regularly speaks up for farmers and presents their views to policy makers and deliverers, and is concerned that some agri-environment schemes may have a profoundly negative impact for farmers.
'What some of these schemes are doing is actually undermining the fabric of hill farming communities. We have a government department talking about supporting rural economies, but the unintended consequences of these schemes can have the potential to destroy farming communities over time, because they don’t understand the whole psychology of hill farming. It’s quite shocking.'