From agriculture to culture culture

Presentation by Edward Acland and discussion

2009/10/24 14:00

local organic farmer at Sprint Mill and activist who is involved in communal growing schemes.

Edward Acland is a local organic farmer at Sprint Mill and activist who has been involved in local politics and organic gardening/farming for decades.

Edward worked as a local councillor for several years and was know and the « green » counciousness. He now lives on a Small holding based on principals of organic gardening and low-mechanical input. Most work is conducted manually, avouding mecahnical machines wherever possible. They have established an informal system for work for produce, where locals get involved in working the farm in return for garden produce.

The Small holding provides about 70% of the families food consumption, and surplus is given away for free or in return for work on the farm.

Financially he relies on the support from his daughter who works as a GP.

Edward did come to Lawson Park by public transport, which made the 15 mile distance a 2 hour journey, using bus and bike.

They start to subdivide the land into smaller plots, and offer use of the land to other locals.

He claims the extremely restrictive UK planning laws for a lack of experimental farming and living, and suggests a more common sense approach, where farmers with too much land offer it to those who want to live in the countryside but can't afford it anymore, to build low impact housing and live off the land.

Issues during the discussion

- the possible « exclusivity » of such a manual labour intensive way of farming, which exclude

  • those less able to work hard, and also any possible mobility- presence is essential on an everyday basis.
  • Edward agrees that they are creating a « monster » which becomes extremely labour intensive, however rewarding the work and outcome is quite successful in terms of being abundant and providing major sustenance for life.
  • the aesthetics of produce made manually, which makes sense and is often preferred in such contexts, but can be more a romantic gesture than actually important in itself.
  • often reproducing so called traditional techniques such as felt making etc. Could there be innovative product design which also allows to communicate the ecological and political issues.
  • problems of viability due to the difficulty in organising collective labour- and the fact that it is not allowed to have people living on the agricultural site even if temporarily.

Lawson Park

Lawson Park
Lawson Park, East of Lake, Coniston,, 
Cumbria., LA21 8AD, United Kingdom
54.346826984483904, -3.0520058

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