(extra)ordinary Joes reclaim the fields!

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We were very pleased to be invited to speak at the Oxford Real Farming Conference last week, at a breakout session on ‘Taking The Initiative’.

Whilst the entire conference is the most rip-roaring feature of the year for devotees of the Agrarian Renaissance, this particular session was truly inspiring – people and groups who just go out there and do it. There was some real insight into how to build successful businesses and communities that are good for the land, for food systems, for their communities, and for themselves.

I especially enjoyed the presentations about Incredible Edible Todmorden, where they’re transforming an entire town into a local food haven; Chagford Community Agriculture, a CSA using traditional methods of powering by horse (real horse power! … apparently there are only about 20 remaining working horses on farms in England); and Reclaim the Fields, “a constellation of young people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production.” I was also keen on the idea of Buffalo farming on the Hampshire Downs!

Some of the projects are really thoughtful, some of them are seriously inspired, and all of them are out to help their communities by just getting things happening.