Sunday, 16 June 2013

A Farm For The Future

I mentioned Wartime Farm a few days back. The last few days I’ve been enjoying the hell out of Edwardian Farm. Absolutely love these series! I cannot recommend them enough.

Both of these shows, set in about a half century period, say approximately 1900-1905 to 1940-1945, have gotten me thinking about two things.

One is that Edwardian Farm is set in the Tamar Valley. The Tamar River is the dividing line between Devon and Cornwall. If I was to visit England, that area is the one I would go to. Something about that landscape - the rolling hills, with its quilt like expanse of hedged fields, the moorlands - really spark my imagination.

The other thing is that they both have me thinking about how agriculture was at one time carried out. And whether we might not be wise to study how things were done fifty to a hundred years ago, and glean what knowledge we can before it’s too late.

After reading Jeff Rubin’s two books, The End of Growth and Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller, I have been reading about peak oil even more. And specifically how it relates to agriculture.

It caused me to give some thought to this documentary I saw a few years ago. One, because it’s set in the beautiful hills of Devon. But also because it is a sobering look at what is heading down the pipeline. I’m usually a glass half full sort of guy. But this issue has me apprehensive about what we are to face as cheap and plentiful oil starts to disappear. The lifestyle people have grown accustomed to is in for a radical change. 

Done in 2009 by Rebecca Hosking and Tim Green for BBC2. Both unsettling and hopeful, it looks at some alternatives to the unsustainable system we have in place now. Whether they will be enough, and whether we have time...that’s something else.

If you find this subject as engrossing as I do, look into the work of Joel Salatin. I was introduced to him in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (a book I recommend everyone read), and his work on Polyface Farms, is a look into how farming can and should be done. 

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