The Land Workers’ Alliance and The Land magazine have joined forces to produce a rural manifesto which aims to challenge the elitism that dominates rural policy. The manifesto is also supported by the Family Farmers’ Association.
The manifesto was launched at the Oxford Real Farming Conference on 6 January 2016. It includes 46 action points, on matters such a housing, land ownership, agriculture and rural employment. These all have the common aim of making Britain’s rural land and resources more accessible to a wider constituency of people.
Continue reading Equality in the Countryside
In the north of England, 2015 ended with the flooding of several major cities. The rain was delivered by an Atlantic storm system so disruptive that it raised midwinter temperatures at the North Pole above freezing for only the second time ever recorded. All this was a sobering corrective to the carefully choreographed euphoria of December’s climate talks in Paris.
Continue reading That Sinking Feeling
Meat should be taxed to help save the planet, proclaimed the Daily Telegraph just before the Paris climate talks began, and almost every newspaper from the Mirror to the Times carried a similar headline. They were referring to a report published by the mother of all think tanks, Chatham House, called Changing Climate Changing Diets: Pathways to Lower Meat Consumption.
Continue reading Meat Tax
At the 2015 Conservative Party Conference David Cameron announced the beginning of a “national crusade to get houses built. That means banks lending, government releasing land and, yes, planning being reformed.” The Prime Minister’s call to arms reflects the widely held view that the current housing crisis results from a failure to build enough new houses, causing a restricted supply and inflated prices. Increase the supply of houses, so the theory goes, and housing will inevitably become more affordable, so build, build, build!
Continue reading Why Building More Houses is Not the Answer
Pondering the inequities of the modern world leads inevitably to thinking about who owns the land. Puzzlement may swiftly be replaced by anger, as even a cursory reading of history reveals that most land has at some point simply been taken, whether by force or by legal processes (backed up by force) which favour the rich and powerful.
Continue reading Owning The Earth
Patrick Whitefield was a pioneer of temperate permaculture. He died in February this year and left us with a great legacy of books, films, articles and courses. Since he began teaching over 25 years ago, permaculture has gone from being a very marginal movement to becoming a respected part of mainstream debate, particularly that of sustainable food production. Patrick’s was one of the leading voices in the debate and his contributions have helped to create that shift.
Continue reading Patrick Whitefield – An Appreciation.
Everybody has to be somewhere: before the Dutch and UK authorities cracked down on urban squatting we may be sure that they checked out just where that somewhere might be for the large number of people they were going to make homeless. One of the safety nets they no doubt had in mind was the “mixed use” occupation of city centre warehouses and factories. Live-work units make a lot of sense for self-employed people.
Continue reading Reluctant Gamekeepers
When eminent lawyer Lord Denning described Magna Carta as “the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”, he was echoing the uncritical reverence with which the British regard all their world-changing inventions: railways, cricket, Yorkshire pudding. And even as tiny tots we learn that, through this “foundational” document, democracy and the rule of law have been our gift to civilisation.
Continue reading 1215 And All That