Anna Clayton, a food citizen and employee of LESS, interviewed Rod about his work, food vision and successes.
An ecologist and researcher in organic and permaculture systems, Rod runs Backsbottom farm organically; raising sheep and 200 heritage apple varieties. These are sold directly to local customers and are also used to produce a range of goods – including an experimental craft cider vinegar.
Backsbottom Farm is also run to ensure that wildlife take priority and thrives.
When asked about his successes, Rod mentioned:
“having a farm that is buzzing with wildlife. Plus teaching Permaculture to a wide range of people for over 30 years, so that they can create living systems that care for the earth, care for people and care for the future”.
“I have always tried to create a resilient local food system and have supported other local organic businesses. It feels very important for our future to create an informed local healthy food system. Recently I have become more interested in the importance of the gut microbiome and the soil microbiome and how these are affected by agrochemicals”
Rod’s vision for FoodFutures is very similar to that of the Lancaster Food Coop in Pensylvannia! It’s one where Lancaster District cultivates and distributes local grown organic food and pasture fed meat to the majority of the population, its hospitals, universities, schools and council workers.
Rod is working towards this vision in a variety of ways. He works with farmers up in Roeburndale as well as Claver Hill community food project in Lancaster to implement natural flood management and ‘Slow The Flow’ schemes. He sits on the Northern Real Farming Conference steering group and has developed a resilient food checklist on behalf of FoodFutures to inform its future strategic work.
His advice for others wanting to get involved in sustainable food work:
“Don’t take things at face value. Research to find the reality behind problems. Work with systems thinking. Don’t give up, the future is important and it depends on you”.