#24: Simple soil health principles, dung beetles, dutch potato trials & european native dairy breeds

Welcome to our two year anniversary edition (YAY!) of Farmerama supported by the brilliant E5 Bakehouse, an East London bakery pushing the boundaries of baking: exploring and innovating from grain to oven to make the best bread. They work closely with farmers and have even started growing grains themselves, which they then mill on site.

At Farmerama we’re here to bring you stories from farmers and growers around the UK, we want to get stuck into uncovering the nitty gritty of producing –  things like soil experiments, choosing different seed varieties, and exploring sustainable or resilient food systems.

This month Soil health and tree expert Niels Corfield shares the 6 Soil Health Principles that can help anyone working on the land, at any scale, to make soil-friendly management decisions.

New contributor Marianne Landzettel sends dispatches from the Netherlands, where a biodynamic Dutch grower and breeder is working to establish blight-resistant potatoes that are yummy and also drought-resistant.

Dung sausages are up next, as we hear from Dr Sarah Beynon, a researcher and farmer at Dr Beynon’s Bug farm in Wales. She tells us about a rather intriguing creature, the Dung Beetle that is working hard beneath our feet.

Finally, Cheese-man and Daphne Zepos Award winner, Sam Frank, takes us on his journey across Europe, as he visits farmers and cheesemakers who work with native dairy breeds. Sam shares some of the highs and lows of the state of the industry.

This show was created by Jo Barratt, Abby Rose and Katie Revell. Thanks so much to Marianne for the additional reporting and to our supporters E5 Bakehouse.

 

Listen here:

Field Report Urban Food Fortnight

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We teamed up with Urban Food Fortnight to do a Farmerama Field report special. Listen in here http://farmerama.co/ to hear about some of the amazing growing, making, cooking and saving projects and events happening in London this week and next…and best of all pick up some great tips, thoughts and ideas from GrowUp Urban Farms The Dusty Knuckle Bakery Plan Zheroes Oliver Rowe

#12 Growing garlic, apprenticeships near and far, neo-peasant politics plus diverse cropping techniques home and abroad

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We’ve now been following the nitty gritty of the smaller-scale farming world for one growing year. One journey of this world around the sun. We’ve chanced upon and dug up so many stories, met inspirational farmers and growers. The podcast has spiralled from a discussion over dinner, into an adventure uncovering different ideas, perspectives and techniques along the way.

This episode we head back to Utah but this time for a garlic special in the Wasatch mountains at Sandhill Farms. They grow over 50 types of garlic and tell us tips of how to grow garlic yourself. Hannah hears inspiring stories from a Dagenham trainee about the importance of farming opportunities for her life.

Diverse cropping is on the cards, we learn of long-established Mexican intercropping methods and companion cropping closer to home.Finally we hear from new reporter Phil as he chats to one of his small-farm heroes, Chris Smaje at Vallis Veg about neo-peasant politics. Listen in to find out what it’s all about!

#10 Giddy goats, a no-till, mob grazing & herbal ley winning combo plus young entrepreneurial growers & food poetry

Farmerama continues to share stories of experimentation – growers, farmers and food-makers doing things a little bit differently.

John and Joanna Cherry from Hertfordshire share what it takes to regenerate soils after many years of conventional farming, using a combo of no-till, mob-grazing and herbal leys. The tables are turned for Hannah as Alice Holden discovers Hannah’s work with kids in London and just what it takes to earn a living as a grower. Scottish kids also feature as Ruth from Harris Farm Meats gets giddy about her goats. And we have more poetry for you this month, as Dani Pandolfi and Sarah McCreadie rap their heads around roast dinners and what it means to eat meat. Lots to share and celebrate…

#9 SoilCity in Glasgow, Farmhack, urban farm updates, poetic landscapes and glasshouses, plus rural entrepreneurs

The Farmerama family is ever-growing, artist Alec Finlay sets the tone for this month’s adventures with his eco-poetry and the lineage of landscapes echoing throughout the episode. Alec’s performance is part of our report on Soil City at Glasgow International Festival, designed to reimagine the city as if soil matters. Clem Sandison tells us why the Open Jar Collective created Soil City for Glasgow, and Rebecca Chan chats to Severine von Taschen Fleming who led a Farmhack planning night for the Scottish contingent.

Ben pays a visit to the glasshouses at Hankham Organics for the Organic Growers Alliance AGM, Pete takes us on a tour of these glass giants and Kate Collyns lets us in on what being part of Organic Growers Alliance has meant for her growing.

Lambs-a-plenty over at Hockham Farm mean that Nigel is on duty day and night, luckily we do get to hear his voice among the masses over at the Farmers For Action March in London. He reports as farmers from all over the country downed their tools to spend hours travelling on buses and trains to get to London to make their voices heard.

Keesje brings to light how important the Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Program has been for herself and other graduates, and Hannah brushes the soil from her hands just long enough to have a chat with Shelagh Martin, for the latest from the Dagenham farm.

Thanks also to David Szesztay for the beautiful notes guiding us through all these voices and to Olga who made the recordings of Alec at Soil City and sent them our way. What a wonderful bunch of people bringing Farmerama to life this month including everyone tuning in to listen.

#8 The voice of small-holders, business tips for urban gardens, cellular agriculture and organics in Udaipur, India

And we’re off, as we happily hop into another Spring season. Beautiful flowers in bloom, lots of hard work planting veg for the year ahead and baby animals dotting the countryside.

This month we have a new contributor, small-holder Keesje Crawford-Avis heralding from the Scottish highlands. She shares her thoughts from the Scottish small-holder conference, in conversation with the Accidental Smallholder.

Hannah gets very excited about a few very simple business tips for budding urban gardeners that she gleaned from the team at Keats Community Organics in South London.

We have something a little unusual, a very open-minded cellular agriculturist, Abi Glencross, who wants to bring permaculture to the lab and find a way for her tissue cultures to be part of agroecological farming. See what you think…

and then we are brought back to the real world, Udaipur India, where Rohit Jain has helped setup a CSA-style membership model for Banyan Roots, connecting farmers to local people and producing grains with soul.

We also take a moment to acknowledge all those who help make food possible, we must never forget the producers are the linchpin of society. Thank you!! Thank you for caring for the people and our soils.

#5 Low effort lettuce lawns, no-dig compost, blight-resistant potatoes, mobile polytunnels and special festive guests

We are in a festive mood this month…spirits are high with some special guests making a late appearance in the show. New reporter Hannah Shlotah chats lettuce lawns and cruush compost with grower Alice Holden at one of London’s best known urban farms Growing Communities in Dagenham.
UK CSA Network board member, Robert Simpson. makes a comeback with his tips on polytunnels for goats that play with planning regulations. Ben Raskin brings us up to date on the newest varieties of blight resistant potatoes through one of the Innovative Farmers trials and we hear from a farmer without a farm… Pete of Corsham Grazing is a clever farmer with 300-odd sheep and a thriving business that benefits all the farmers in the area.

#2 Natural Agriculture, CSAs, urban salads and ex-addicts

Nigel, Jo and Abby take a close look at Natural Agriculture after a visit to the Shumei farm near Yatesbury. They also investigate some of the ways farms are trying to get local communities more interested in growing and farming. There’s a visit to a CSA farm near Swansea, a community garden in the midlands, and an urban farm in Bristol.