Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution
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An honest look at the farming life today. Raw, earthy and inspiring ' - Cal Flyn, author of Islands of Abandonment In Rooted, you highlight how regenerative farming can benefit the land and the output of a farm but balance it with the reality that there are a lot of farmers, who have been used to certain practices their whole farming life. What have you found to be the most effective way of starting those conversations and getting people to consider change? As I walk the lanes around my home in Devon, I look at hedgerows, fields and farms, and think about the political and economic forces affecting the British countryside. The challenges of climate change, Brexit, changing farm subsidies, biodiversity loss and falling incomes mean that change is coming. Rooted is Sarah Langford’s moving exploration of these changes, and of what the future holds. She tells the story of leaving her career as a barrister in London and moving, in 2017, with her young family to Suffolk (an unwanted and unplanned move), taking on the management of her husband’s family farm and reconnecting with her farming roots in the process. ‘In the city, we hold two contrasting pictures of a farmer: one from a children’s picture book and one from a poster of ecological destruction,’ she writes. ‘I wonder if anyone knows what being a farmer means anymore. I need to find out because now, unexpectedly, I have been given a chance to become one.’
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In Rooted, Sarah weaves her own story around those who taught her what it means to be a farmer. She shines a light on the human side of modern farming, and shows how land connects us all, not only in terms of global sustainability but in our relationships with our physical and mental health, our communities and our planet. In 2017 my husband, son and baby moved by accident from London to the Suffolk countryside. We expected to stay for six months. In the end, we stayed for two years, taking on the running of his small family farm. Our story is woven around the stories of other farmers I met in my secondnarrative non-fiction book, Rooted: Stories of Life, Land, and a Farming Revolution published July 2022 by Viking ( Penguin Random House). Part-memoir, part narrative account of a selection of farmers from around the country, it seeks to shine a light on the world of farming at a critical point in the future of the countryside.What is one thing that you’ve taken from your conversations with farmers that you think will stay with you as you continue experimenting on your farm? Rooted offers us an honest look at the farming life today. It is not an easy way to make a living, but through Langford's personal story - and those of who she meets - we appreciate how it offers a connection with the land, and a firmer sense of our place in the world. Raw, earthy and inspiring. Cal Flyn, author of Islands of Abandonment
Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution
Rooted charts a quiet revolution taking place in our fields, barns and hedgerows, led by a new generation of farmers on a path of powerful change.The environmentalist George Monbiot argues that farming is the world’s greatest cause of environmental destruction, but few people want to talk about it. In Regenesis: Feeding the World Without Devouring the Planet he presents a vision for the future of food production. He tells Tom Sutcliffe that new ideas and technologies from soil ecology to laboratory-grown food could change the way people eat while regenerating the landscape. Those days come to mind reading two books that challenge us to think again about farming – what it has come to mean and how it could be transformed. Sarah Langford’s Rooted, with its case studies of agriculture over the last few decades, makes me thankful I grew up on the type of mixed family farm far less common than it once was. George Monbiot’s Regenesis takes as its subject no less than the entire world’s food production system and dares to imagine a world largely free of farming as we have known it. After gaining a degree in English Literature at a not-very-prestigious university, I worked as a barmaid, legal secretary and note-taking clerk before completing a law conversion course. Thanks to a scholarship from Gray's Inn Of Court I was able to take my Bar Vocational Course. I qualified as a barrister in 2005.
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Moving, intimate, tender and searing, this is a gem of a book with deep roots and fresh green shoots." A timely and optimistic book, ostensibly about why we need farming to produce food, but more deeply about how farming is done, or could be done. Refreshingly authentic, Rooted gives us a hopeful sense of a regenerative future" Heartbreaking and hopeful, this story of a farming revival has never been more important. It opened my eyes and touched my soul"
Published in the UK since 1935, Geographical is the official magazine of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). Rooted is a brave thing: a book that prods into the ever-widening gulf between the binaries we increasingly use to examine the world. As conversations about what we eat and where it comes from reach fever-pitch, Sarah Langford's clear-eyed, inquisitive and passionate plea for farmers and farming offers a vital understanding when it has never been so needed. I hope everyone reads it."