https://www.sobelow.org/ – having a peek at this is a most excellent use of five minutes
An account of farming in the Chelmsford area of Essex
Another book in the same genre as ‘Where Beards Wag All‘ which perfectly and poetically captures the last days of pre mechanised peasant agriculture in Essex and the first steps of the transition into fossil fuel fuelled farming. Simply and beautifully written, a good way to look back to look forward
Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture.
This is a truly epic piece of work which includes some compelling history lessons alongside being a cultural and practical manual for acquiring, working and thriving on the land in America. There is so much to learn here for land workers of colour as well as white people on an anti-racism journey.
We have included some of the things we learned from this book into recent performances of the show.
If you don’t want to dive straight into the book, Leah Penniman’s podcast with Farmerama is a good place to start or one of these blogs:
“In 1910, one in seven farmers were African-American and held titles to approximately 16-19 million acres of farmland. Over the next century, 98% of Black farmers were dispossessed through discriminatory practices at the USDA and various federal farm programs. These farmers were often denied loans and credit, lacked access to legal defense against fraud, and experienced “outright acts of violence and intimidation” resulting in a 90% loss of Black-owned farmland in the US.
Today, 98% of private rural land is owned by white people, while less than 1% is Black-owned. The USDA’s systemic bias against Black and minority farmers “is well documented” and affirmed by the 2010 Pigford vs. Glickman class action lawsuit, which resulted in a $1.25 billion settlement. Black farmers continue to experience discrimination in access to credit, seeds, and other assistance, and face foreclosure at six times the rate of their White counterparts.”
Robin Grey speaks with Christopher Price, Director of Policy for the Countryside Landowners Association about farm subsidies, land value tax, GMO, Right to Roam, open data and the Land Registry, fracking and more.
There is a good series on BBC Radio 4 at the moment called ‘Against The Grain’. They are 15mins each and worth a listen.
Below are links to two of them i listened too and a few of my notes and comments
>>>>>>against the grain – farming westminster – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bb9wk
new labour = defra – word agriculture removed from government department – upset a lot of farmers and people who lived in rural areas
90s – grain mountains and food lakes – BSE – foot and mouth – farming perceived as a problem – farmers go on a PR offensive
farming a more important sector for french politicians even though it is still relatively small 2-3% of population
UK agriculture is tiny = 0.7% GDP produced by farming even though 70% land is farmed
an EU perspective – problem with UK is voting system first past the post leads to very little coalition government so marginal votes and voices such as farmers cannot make a difference
>>>>>>against the grain – the CAP years – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bb202
professor tim lang
1840s repealed corn laws fixing corn prices – decision made to import cheap food from the empire rather than support our own farmers = farming declined
WW1 shock can britain feed itself then 1920/30 recession again + WW2 – WTF
By 1947 never again – let’s support our farmers – subsidies = protecting farmers via productionist approach
over generously – horrific surpluses of food – export subsidies to get rid of the stuff
CAP bundle of contradictions – good vs bad
1960 70 80 bad for nature
since then = paying farmers to do some nice things whilst allowing them to be brutal
professor allan buckwell
CAP stop market intervention
change to pay farmers to provide things market wants but doesn’t pay for
CAP has kept people on the land longer – moderating or slowing rate of out flow from agricultural sector
to keep UK competing in the world commodity market you need scale no a few tens of acres
a tale of two halves
farmers given money for things they produce even if this is a disaster for nature
separating subsidies from production – environmental land management
CAP encouraged specialisation which brought problems around environmentalism and sustainability
CAP holds back the forces of consolidation and industrialisation
danish are farming mink – raised for fir – need high quality feed – dry warm nest
CAP to stabilise farmers income and prevent corporations taking over
small farmers are the lifeblood of the countryside
This podcast features some songs from the singers circle we ran at the Oxford Real Farming Conference in 2016. It includes the wonderful Ed Hamer singing the Farmer’s ABC!
Do check it out (episode #6) via http://farmerama.co/
by Jim Crace
This is the only fiction book I have in this section at the moment and it is a gem.
Set in medieval times, the story concerns a village about to be enclosed for sheep farming.