English Pastoral: An Inheritance - The Sunday Times bestseller from the author of The Shepherd's Life

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English Pastoral: An Inheritance - The Sunday Times bestseller from the author of The Shepherd's Life

English Pastoral: An Inheritance - The Sunday Times bestseller from the author of The Shepherd's Life

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Perfectly judged , it made me cry (twice) and left me with a new understanding of agriculture, and a real sense of hope.

In the meantime, farmers elsewhere were chopping down woodlands, draining marshes, destroying the microbiology of the soil and banishing nature. English Pastoral concludes with a description of the changes made on Rebanks’s farm in recent years.English Pastoral builds into a heartfelt elegy for all that has been lost from our landscape, and a rousing disquisition on what could be regained - a rallying cry for a better future. The heavy percussion of his polemic sometimes overwhelms the rhythm of Rebanks’s prose; he’s more persuasive when he lets personal experience speak for him. Thus began his relationship with farming, with the land and with nature, a relationship that deepened as nature cast her spell over him, a spell into which he draws his readers. Deeply personal but also global in significance, its pages course with love and concern so palpable I more than once wept while reading it. Changes in farming practices have meant that globally the production of a given quantity of crop, such as wheat or maize, now requires two-thirds less land than it did in the early 1960s.

Stewardship schemes reward farmers for planting trees and maintaining hedges as the author now does.

To earlier generations of farmers, the idea that nature is vulnerable would have “seemed like hippy or communist propaganda”.

Rebanks is at his best when focusing on his home patch rather than railing against economists, supermarkets and cheap food. He may have done this with his own money but most farmers are strongly influenced by the regime of annual payments.This is a course of action that increasing numbers of farmers will have to pursue as we leave the EU’s subsidy system. International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. Rebanks is a rare find indeed: a Lake District farmer whose family have worked the land for 600 years, with a passion to save the countryside and an elegant prose style to engage even the most urban reader. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If it hadn’t been for high-tech agriculture, there would have been less food, more hunger and possibly an even greater loss of pristine ecosystems, as food production sought to keep pace with population growth.

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