One fifth of English farms have disappeared in past 10 years

England's green and pleasant land: a patchwork quilt of green and gold fields with quaint little villages nestled in between and ancient farms run by families who have worked the land for generations. Is this a true perspective of the English countryside? You and I know that this rose-tinted view is not the reality, nor … Continue reading One fifth of English farms have disappeared in past 10 years

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Book Review: ‘Land of Plenty’ by Charlie Pye-Smith

It won’t be news to any regular reader of this blog to hear that many farmers struggle to make a living from the land. Farming is famously volatile and those running farming businesses are at the mercy of world markets, changing government policy and of course the weather! The decision to withdraw from the European … Continue reading Book Review: ‘Land of Plenty’ by Charlie Pye-Smith

Rural Coalition Statement 2017

You may not have heard of it, but 'The Rural Coalition' recently published its 2017 statement, outlining the policy priorities and actions that it thinks will be required to sail rural communities through Brexit and beyond in a safe and secure (as opposed to strong and stable) manner. The Rural Coalition is exactly what it … Continue reading Rural Coalition Statement 2017

Question Time last night: ‘Britain after Brexit’

I am a regular watcher of the BBC's Question Time, although I should probably stay away for the sake of my blood pressure. Yesterday evening a special 'Britain after Brexit' episode was broadcast, during which an audience which was divided as the country was at the referendum (roughly 52:48) posed questions to a panel composed of … Continue reading Question Time last night: ‘Britain after Brexit’

Climate, Surveillance and Sustainability

Last week I attended several events here at the University outside of my normal remit of study (although all related to my wider interests). The first was an evening lecture by Professor Richard Aldrich of Nottingham University on 'the Future of Surveillance', the second a lunchtime lecture from Steve Smith of the Climate Change Committee … Continue reading Climate, Surveillance and Sustainability

Agroecology – a third way?

In farming, as in every other way of life, we have made a critical mistake. It is a mistake of language, assigning linguistic labels to denote ‘methods’ of agriculture and thus discouraging innovation and radical thinking. We can point to and fairly accurately describe ‘conventional’, ‘organic’, ‘biodynamic’, ‘integrated’, ‘intensive’ or ‘extensive’ ‘types’ of farming along … Continue reading Agroecology – a third way?

The Future of Wheat

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=QZz86KgoM_E It is estimated that in the next 50 years we will have to produce more wheat than we have over the past 10,000 years. Innovation is apparent in the agricultural sector. From engineering to plant science, specialists have been steadily moving forward. But are we moving forward quickly enough to sustain a rapidly growing … Continue reading The Future of Wheat