We’re excited to read about our very own Ollie featuring in a new book exploring the next wave of regenerative farmers. Sarah Langford’s “Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution”, follows his hard-fought personal journey starting out in farming, to where he is now.
Sarah’s previous book In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law, was a Sunday Times bestseller, which demonstrated her talent for uncovering the human stories at the heart of the criminal justice system.
Sarah left her country roots behind to live and work in the city as a barrister. But when she found herself moving to the countryside, back to an agricultural life she had left behind, she saw farmers dealing with very different problems to those faced by her grandfather, who had fed a starving nation after the war. Beleaguered with the challenges of climate change, Brexit and falling incomes, they faced accusations of ecological mismanagement from a hostile media and public.
Compelled to write a book on the subject, she looked to these farmers to teach her about the land, she also found a new generation of farmers on a path of regenerative change.
In Ollie’s chapter, Sarah follows his journey from a boy, when the family farm was sold off, and how he began renting 9 acres of the 22 acres of land that his father had held back.
Fraught with difficulties along the way; financial, emotional, and physical, Ollie has to work his way up from nothing.
From his modest 9 acres, he then manages to negotiate 22 acres. From there he moves onto Greenway, where he “wins” a council tenancy to run the farm for 10 years. The selected candidate from 65 applicants, Ollie finally gets the opportunity to farm 125 acres of land and builds up a business from zero.
From the very beginning, with nothing but a broken, sorry state of a farm, Ollie is able to build on the very soil beneath his feet, into what we now know as Farm2Fork.
In Rooted, Sarah weaves her own story around Ollie and other farmers – from dairy to arable, traditional to experimental. Her stories shine a light on the human side of modern farming and show us how land connects us all, not only in terms of global sustainability but in our relationships with our physical and mental health, our communities, our planet and ourselves.
As Sarah begins her chapter on Ollie, so we’ll end:
“Part of it is a practical decision, but there is definitely a spiritual angle.
It’s a very nice, calming, peaceful way to farm when you are working with nature and trying to do things which have a positive effect.” – Ollie, Farm2Fork
Sarah Langford’s Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution is out now in hardback and audiobook.