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#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.

#7 Seeds on film, secret sauces, woodchip composts, Care Farming for health & finances, plus a few cheeky outdoor winter salads

From seeds on film to secret sauces, this month we journey over valley and vale to bring you interesting ideas and experiments in the smaller scale farming world.

Ben chats to Nick Bell, the co-creator of a ‘wonderful’ new seed saving resource, From Seed to Seed. Hannah returns this month as she digs into the health benefits and economics of care farming with Rachel Bragg, development coordinator at Care Farming UK. Ian ‘Tolly’ Tollhurst talks us through the highs and lows of wood chip composts, and throws in some experiments along the way. And Abby who’s still in sunnier climes working with Chilean farmers, reports from her family’s farm about a delicious, versatile and enterprising; but little known secret sauce.

#6 Oxford Real Farming Conference, a positive health CSA, Field of Wheat uniting farmers & other folk, cover crops + no-till, & land songs

Join us this month to unfold new dialogues and build bridges at the Oxford REAL Farming Conference. Patrick Holden, of the Sustainable Food Trust, grows us a field-guide for the conference(s). We follow farmer Peter Lundgren and artist Anne-Marie Culhane through their rather unconventional art project – ‘A Field of Wheat‘ – sewing the seeds for new dialogues between farmers and other folk. We journey from a CSA in the grounds of a hospital to a healthier comeuppance for mixed cover crops tested by Peter Brown, director of the biodynamic association UK. All along the way we sing the songs of the land led by Robin Grey of 3 Acres and a Cow (intermingled with the lovely lone voice of one CSA farmer singing his version of the alphabet).

#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.

#4 Female farmers speak out, dairy protests, weed tangled walled gardens, we round up the cows & natural wine making in Italy

This month we hear about the challenges and successes for female farmers in Africa (and the UK) which has led to projects like MAFGE (Male Advocacy for Gender Equality). Nigel reports from the milk protests in Brussels which were incredibly hectic and fuelled by frustrated farmers determined to have their voices heard; roving reporter Ben Raskin explores how Helen’s Bay Walled Garden, a beautiful wild old kitchen garden in Northern Ireland, is being brought back to life by David Love Cameron, a Raymond Blanc heritage garden scholar… and finally we are treated to a collection of thoughts from a long-time natural wine maker in Italy. The whole show, including escaping cows, is broadcast from the Sussex farm of Monica and Fred Akehurst  (the original home of IndieFarmer ) an inspiring pair of longtime British farmers.

#3 Scottish Crofting, alternatives to certification, Irish seaweed farming and more from young farmers around the world

We meet young Scottish crofters keeping cultural traditions alive; hear from a Lebanese farmer and South African harvester using alternative approaches to certification; dip our toes into sustainable seaweed harvesting along the coast of Ireland and we bump into Autonomia Project as they wind their way by Bike from Paris to Tokyo with a sack full of seeds. And more inspiring projects and people from our trip Slow Food Youth Network‘s We Feed the Planet at the Milan Expo last week

#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.

#1 CSAs, water buffalo, seed politics and a chicken speak-easy

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Farmerama Radio shares great stories from the smaller scale farming movement in the UK. We are out in the field digging out what’s really going on. In episode one we went to the annual CSA gathering to learn the ins and outs of community supported agriculture, Nigel visits a Devon Water Buffalo farm and Zarah Rahman investigates the historical significance of seeds.