Woman standing next to a full wheelbarrow with a pitchfork in hand

A personal account by Emma, FarmStart trainee

Nature is amazing! It’s been a challenging spring with an insanely wet March, a cold, dry April and now a scorching May with not a drop of rain forecast. Yet the swallows made their way home and the remaining insects we still have are emerging and getting on with life in all its guises. The world is still turning… for now anyway. The Plot is rewarding our graft with weekly surges in growth and it was a complete joy to pick, pack and send out the first boxes for the CSA scheme at the beginning of June. Standing in the packing shed surrounded by the rows of boxes ready to be delivered to the local community was deeply heartening. For me it expressed in its own small way, a vision of a much bigger change that is happening in our area.

However, the drought we are in has huge challenges for all plant and animal life, including the crops at The Plot. It’s an endless balancing act to direct water to the right areas at the right times while staying mindful of the preciousness of the water itself. Our weather patterns are becoming more extreme each year and growing food in these unpredictable times is increasingly challenging.

Growing organically and agro-ecologically is vital as it creates healthy ecosystems from the soil right through the entire system, to our waterways and even the air itself. This means much more resilient systems more able to cope with weather extremes and without causing damage to the wider environment and our health. Nothing happens in isolation, every action that occurs has so many links and this is deeply true of the way we interact with the land itself. From how we use land and who gets access to land, to what we choose to produce on that land and how we go about producing it, has the potential of having incredibly positive outcomes or shockingly damaging ones for all life.

In the uncertain times we find ourselves living in, The Plot has become for me, and I know for my fellow Farm Starters too, a place of such positivity. A place where, collectively, the pleasure of the simple act of growing food is embedded in much wider vision of the future we, our community and the wider world could all have.

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