Imagine a farm where you are welcome to walk in its fields. You hear birds singing and see wildflowers blooming. The cows in the meadows are grazing and the children in farm school are learning-by-doing, collecting eggs from free-ranging chickens and picking fruit from orchard trees.
Welcome to community-owned Huxhams Cross Farm set on the rolling hills of south Devon on the edge of the Dartington Hall estate. Secured by the Biodynamic Land Trust (of which more later), its 34-acres exemplifies human-scale farming in a world increasingly dominated by industrial farming.
Huxhams Cross Farm needs your investment and here’s why. In the UK and Europe, small farms are increasingly swallowed up by neighbouring industrial farms – 3% of farms own 52% of EU land.
The UK currently imports over half the food it consumes with about a quarter coming from the EU. As for fresh produce, the UK imports 80% of its fresh vegetables and 40% of fresh fruit. The need for the UK to produce its own food is ever-more pressing post-Brexit. Coupled with a falling pound and potential tariffs, there could be significant price rises according to a joint food report from Universities of City, Cardiff and Sussex.
Food growing is made harder in the UK due to land prices. It takes a farmer up to 20 years to pay back one hectare of land in the UK (compared for instance with nine years in the Netherlands and six in France). Because UK land is used as a financial safe haven, its prices have become inflated, putting farmland beyond the reach of farmers growing food. The Biodynamic Land Trust is working to de-commodify the land and return it to community ownership. Since being founded in 2011, the Biodynamic Land Trust has secured over 300 acres of land for five farms including Huxhams Cross Farm in Devon.
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