Harvest 2011: The Land

4:33 pm, September 23, 2011

Honesty Shop at the farm open 8am-8pm for meat and eggs
Call 01738 730201 by Monday for Thursday local delivery (Perth / Crieff), or Friday nationwide by courier
Find us at Edinburgh Farmers Market Every Saturday 9-2pm
Call Moray the butcher at Earthy Foods & Goods 07718 236497

THE LAND:

Last month I wrote about how a growing numbers of individuals, organisations and businesses are realising that we need to fix our broken food system. That need can only be met with innovation and change in farming practices and the understanding that there is no one quick fix. Our land grows the food that feeds us 3 times a day, it’s a finite resource and we should treat it with respect rather than poisoning it or releasing artificially created organisms onto it whose impact 20-30 years from now is unknown.

I am not a Luddite though. We are a business, and we want to stay in business and earn a living. However sustainability is the theme here, and that means the use of our precious natural resources in a way that nourishes them for future generations. Organic farming does that by focusing on our soil as the starting point for producing food. Its sounds so obvious but gets forgotten. Keep the soil healthy, look after it and it will look after you in return.

These days though in a competitive world its not enough to sit in our Green tinged Ivory tower farming away. We need to connect with the outside world, we need to train and nourish the new generation of thinkers and innovators in farming. The average age of the farmer in the UK is in their early 60s. This is of great concern. Industries that do not innovate die. We cannot allow our farming industry to wither, where will that fabulous Scottish Larder we hear so much about come from? If we rely on big agribusiness to innovate for us then we will get what we are given and have to like it.

For us that was never an acceptable place to be and so we decided to do it another way. We have slowly been moving our farming business away from producing commodities and into producing things that people want to buy directly from us, a great tasting chicken or the best steak, or good value fresh eggs.


And because we want to find new markets we have forged small but sustainable links with other small businesses who feel the same way: e.g. working with Earthy Foods and Goods on our butchery counter, finding the chef, like Neil Forbes at Café St Honore who buys local, seasonal and organic every week, sharing an event with lifestyle business Boddy Language who see eating organic as part of a holistic approach to personal sustainability, and engaging with the new fashion in dining out, my home supper club run by Aoife Behan who throws her home open fortnightly for home cooking, in a new style of eating out (Nose to Tail 19th Nov).
It’s so interesting to speak to these people and understand why they do what they do. We are all working daily in a small way but with a big idea: that there is another way of doing things, and that we can slowly move to a better more sustainable place without destroying the soil that looks after us in the process.
Did I mention that the food tastes great too…