Organic Farming

If the 18th-century utopian social reformer Robert Owen – factory magnate and one of the founders of the cooperative movement – were reborn today, Sheepdrove Organic Farm is just the sort of place I imagine he might set up. The estate is owned by Peter Kindersley, the millionaire philanthropist who made his fortune from the publishing company Dorling Kindersley, and he now runs it as a model farm and ecocentre. Here Kindersley has applied his mix of entrepreneurial spirit and reforming zeal to creating a food system that aims to be carbon neutral, recycles its water and promotes rural employment. More than 80 people work here, compared with just one or two on a neighbouring farm of similar size.

Just a thought (and yes, of course I\’m being terribly unfair with the numbers here) but given that 1-2% of the population is currently involved in farming, does organic farming mean that 80% of us will have to return to the idiocy of rural life?

10 thoughts on “Organic Farming”

  1. Yes.

    JuliaM, if you ever work out how to stop chilli plants dying after one harvest, please tell me. It is fantastic fun growing them but I always have to start again the next year.

  2. And of course if it wasn’t being subsidised massively by the owner, it could not exist. A prime example of how not to organise agriculture, unless you have a wealthy enough sugar-daddy standing behind you.

  3. “…if you ever work out how to stop chilli plants dying after one harvest, please tell me. It is fantastic fun growing them but I always have to start again the next year.”

    Me too. I’d just assumed the varieties grown here were annuals…

  4. JuliaM, I once saw a very old chilli plant in a posh flower shop, the trunk was a couple of inches across. So they do exist (I think). Unless it was just a bonsai tree with chillies glued to it?

  5. “JuliaM, I once saw a very old chilli plant in a posh flower shop, the trunk was a couple of inches across.”

    Wow! I wonder what variety it was?

    “Unless it was just a bonsai tree with chillies glued to it?”

    Heh. If it was the sort of ‘posh flower shop’ that tries to flog a phaelanopsis orchid for £25 which would probably cost you £8-10 in Sainsbury (and be just as good), it probably was… 🙂

  6. ““Unless it was just a bonsai tree with chillies glued to it?” Bugger me, a Norwegian Blue chilli.

  7. I thought that peppers, like tomatoes (and probably aubergines) were perennial but not frost hardy. It is a lot easier to start afresh each spring and it is very easy to save seed (beware of cross pollination if you are trying to keep a variety)

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