Green axe challenge

Chopping wood this week made me think about parallels on writing my blog to reflect the past year while looking forward to the next year (2022). Celebrate what’s been learned. Acknowledge the knotty stuff. Not take for granted any sweet spots. Reading the grain to cleave out workable pragmatic solutions. All of which, not surprisingly, … Continue reading Green axe challenge

Gutenberg moment

I thought I could get away with it. Remain objective, unemotional even, coolly and scientifically detached about change in the countryside. But I was wrong. It was working on an interview with Professor Tim Benton that fried my head. The enormity and range of issues. All at the same time rewiring our brains to communicate … Continue reading Gutenberg moment

Curate’s egg

Just how tricky it is to design new agricultural and environmental policies. Simultaneously. When the Soil Association goes nuts with Defra over a picture of a combine, the Commons Enviro Committee feature an elephant as twitter cover for a report on consumption, Clarkson’s a policy influencer and laconic popstars front up COP26 on food – … Continue reading Curate’s egg

Field intel

Time to get off the mountain. Close the gap between years’ of telephone conversations and direct messages. A road trip around East Anglia listening, face to face, to what people think rather than what they say. A brief history to ‘field intel’ trips. My first one was along The Marches via train and bike. The … Continue reading Field intel

Silvo-agro-carbo-tree

A steep hillside opposite my home office is sprouting with young trees. Bracken race Fighting to get away from native prehistoric bracken, avoid the odd deer, an experiment is unfolding. Public grant aided, carbon paid-up, charity funded, ‘feel-good‘ rights (listen from 40min) cashed in, volunteers on call all coming together in an innovative project. Money … Continue reading Silvo-agro-carbo-tree

Acting on land

The Agriculture Act 2020 slipped quietly into law last year. All change ahead as it takes over the driving seat from the 1947 Agric Act. It’s time to get on board now. A little context. Where to start? Let’s try 1970. The birth of the Range Rover, open air combine harvesters, benchmark date for farmland … Continue reading Acting on land

Monbiot, 2013

My interview with George Monbiot was conducted in Sept 2013 and was first published in BBC Countryfile magazine. Rob Yorke (RY): Where did you spend your childhood? George Monbiot (GM): I was brought up in the Oxfordshire countryside next to an old golf course that had returned, I suppose rewilded, to an amazing habitat mix … Continue reading Monbiot, 2013

Fish slapping

Myanmar, with all its complex history, raw resources, ‘wet markets’ and emerging economy, gripped me on a trip into its heartland at Inle Lake. It’s 2013 and we are in Burma. Or, as I should now call it Myanmar. Especially when within earshot of the sunglass-wearing officials as we hand over the cash. Tourists pay … Continue reading Fish slapping