February 09, 2022
A group of world class Farmers was asked to review Clarkson's Farm... and as a real newcomer to the world of agriculture, so were we!
Thank you to Live Frankly for the opportunity. For those of you that don't know Live Frankly, it is a genuinely good lifestyle guide that breaks down thorny sustainability issues, features pioneering businesses, and delivers the thoughtful honest truth. We are proud to be a part of their directory.
Our views are below but if you want to read the full piece, here it is!
When I first heard about Clarkson’s Farm, I have to admit, I didn’t think I would be a fan. But I am always happy to be wrong, and in this case I was.
Is the show perfect? No. Is Clarkson a regenerative hero? No. But, is he a man in transition that could take his audience along for the ride? Absolutely.
What I like best about Clarkson’s Farm is that he very clearly shows how incredibly difficult the profession is.
Elvis and I started our own farming adventure in December 2020. We bought a small 17 acre farm outside of Faversham in order to pursue regenerative agriculture. We watched the Biggest Little Farm, we watched Kiss the Ground, we got in touch with everyone we knew who knew anyone doing this kind of farming and we started researching… hard.
It has been a lot like going back to university. Except this time, instead of studying Politics (useless), we are getting to grips with soil health, microbiology, weather patterns, holistic planned grazing, permaculture… We have never been so physically drained while so simultaneously intellectually jazzed. We have found some incredible mentors and a deep well of support from our community and new neighbours.
As a society we seem to feel entitled to cheap food; the result is that farmers are overworked and underpaid and the land suffers. Diddly Squat made almost no money in Clarkson’s first year at the helm, and he took no salary.
The transparency of the show is great. Day after day the natural world is bringing Clarkson round to its way of working – it’s slow, complex, unpredictable and yet perfect.
He is bearing witness to climate change and his eco efforts – rewilding, wetlands, wildflowers, insect corridors – are all fantastic initiatives that frankly, we need Clarkson’s seven million Twitter followers to love, too.
We have sheep and are planting 11,668 vines in the spring. Hopefully, we’ll be making wine by 2025. We are planning to go beyond organic and biodynamic and have a soil-first approach. But, this is experimental and risky, as there are few precedents.
The main reality of farming, one that Clarkson also presents incredibly well, is that it unfolds very slowly. You have to watch everything as closely as possible and there are no certainties. No matter what the industrial chemical and seed companies may promise, there are no absolute inputs, and no absolute outcomes.
The best we ever hope to be is a symbiotic partner for nature. This partnership is already messy and erratic but also achingly beautiful and endlessly interesting.
And, maybe I am being too optimistic, but I think Clarkson is heading in the same direction…