Tag Archives: agriculture

Let’s Go Wild – Isabella Tree

8 May Isabella Tree © Fernando Bagué

Isabella Tree’s event, on her book Wilding, was all set for a cosy evening at Lower Shaw Farm’s ‘centre’, with forty or so people, cups of tea and talk of restoring a bit of balance back to the countryside.

However, the allocated tickets sold out. More were made available, and they sold too. There was no choice but shift the venue to the cowshed, with seating for a hundred. Still the tickets sold… benches were added, and more chairs dragged from all corners. By the time the talk was about to start, the cowshed was packed tighter than a, well, than a cowshed. An intensively farmed cowshed. And that’s where Isabella Tree comes in.

Isabella Tree in the Lowers Shaw Farm cowshed © Fernando Bagué
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A grass-fed message of hope

3 May

Graham Harvey

Graham Harvey (C) Calyx Picture Agency

I feel guilty about coming here with a gloomy talk, said Graham Harvey at the Swindon Festival of Literature.

Gloomy to me means pessimistic, lacking in hope. This talk, however, had a very clear idea of what we could do to fix things. And I hope this account gets all the facts right and does justice to his excellent talk.

The problem, according to Graham, is with modern agriculture. And the answer is to look back at the past. He showed us a Thomas Gainsborough painting, Mr & Mrs Andrews, in an idyllic North Essex setting. Gainsborough would have probably recognised the landscape right up until the 1960s, Graham told us, demonstrating with another picture – this time an aerial photo of the same, unchanged countryside – courtesy of the wartime Luftwaffe. In fact, the countryside hasn’t changed much since at least Roman times.

So what happened? Continue reading