Kilmington Village Hall was the venue for a superb event this evening - a chance to see and discuss Rebecca Hosking’s BBC Natural World episode, “A Farm For The Future”. Hosted by the East Devon local group of Devon Wildlife Trust, the evening took the format of a screening of the film followed by lively discussion and questions.
It seems that I was not the only person there to have been inspired by the original airing of this film back in 2009. Shot and produced by Tim Green and Rebecca Hosking, it was evident from the questions and comments from the audience, and fielded by both Rebecca Hosking and Tim Green, that this film has made an impact.
Hosking examines the possibility of taking her family farm into a sustainable future and addresses the sustainability of our current methods of food production, drawing upon the knowledge and experience of leaders in the field, such as Dr Colin Campbell, and looks at possible alternatives to our ever more oil-dependant practices. Certainly, as a new farmer myself, the film contains a wealth of useful advice such as alternative grazing systems, grassland and wildlife management and a move away from the flat field approach to production. For me, it’s quite easy to accept the wisdom of these ideas as I don’t have generations of farming knowledge to draw upon, or indeed, to cloud my judgement. Alternative systems of agriculture, such as forest gardening, are able to provide higher yields that conventional farming and with less maintenance. It’s clear that the closer to nature we work, the less likely we are to run into trouble as we build up our soil fertility once again and stop thinking of unwanted and unasked for species as pests. This, and other permaculture principles, require a radical change in our awareness and an understanding of what we are currently doing.
One points that was discussed following the film was the “9 meals from anarchy” threat that is so easy to dismiss as one strolls the aisles of the local supermarket. The fact is that 80% of us buy our food from the supermarket and the fact that these supermarkets hold 3 to 5 days worth of food seems to never cross our minds. An interruption in delivery of just 3 days could mean that 80% of the British population would be without food. A chilling thought as we load our fridges full of perishable goods from around the world.
If you haven’t seen “A Farm For The Future” yet, it comes highly recommended and you may be able to find it online via BBC iPlayer or YouTube.
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