Saturday, 25 September 2010

Farming for a Future

We have just said Au Revoir to Thomas, an absolutely brilliant Belgian WWOOFer who worked tirelessly and autonomously despite not having any other WWOOFer company. In the time that he was with us he really became like a member of the family and I think the boys thought of him as a big brother. R and B cried when he left and he leaves a big space in our lives, not just because we don't have anymore WWOOFers for a whole week, but more because he was genuinely interested in what we are doing here. He and I talked endlessly about where the world was going and the unsustainability of it all. He learnt about Emilia Hazelip and helped us to begin converting the potager and polytunnel over to her style of land-management. If you would like to know more about Emilia Hazelip, one of my permaculture heroes, watch this

I have been agonising most of the summer over the sowing of our wheat crop, or rather, the preparation for the sowing. I look at the piece of land that we did have ploughed (see this post) and right next to it, the other half unploughed. In the 'cultivated' bit we are overrun with nasty pernicious weeds, in the uncultivated piece we have just grass and a few wild flowers. The ploughed land gave buried seeds the light of day and also gave advantage to strong weeds in the absence of grass. The more I have read about no-till farming where the land isn't ploughed, the more I believe it is the right way to go but it is brave step to take to just go out there and sow onto grassland.

Thomas left me with a copy of a BBC documentary called Farming for a Future. I watched it with R after he left and it made me cry. How can we have gone SO far in the wrong direction? And we just keep on going! I made the decision after that film that I was NOT going to have anymore land ploughed here and I feel as though a burden has been lifted from my shoulders now that I have made that choice. So, in the late autumn we will go out and sow right on top of the grass.

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