18/10/16 Field Notes from Underwood Farm

Almost a month ago now we visited farmer Mike Rogers on his coastal organic farm in Beeson to see how our grains are growing and to talk about future plans. Seeing them at this stage you are reminded of how foundational the grass family has become to our societies. It is still a wonder of alchemy to me that profiteroles and springy sourdough bread start from these swathes of green blades.

As well as wheat and spelt, we saw two types of oats, yellow peas and maslin, a mixture of wheat and rye. And there is more growing on other farms. We’re going to be truly multigrain! 

As we walked around the farm we tried to put the world to rights, discussing food prices, the ecological impacts of farming and the livelihoods of farmers. Mike reflected on how times have changed since he started farming and his wish that the world was a surer place for his son as a farmer. When he was raising a family the Milk Marketing Board still existed, a producer run marketing board which guaranteed a buyer and a minimum price for milk producers. As a dairy farmer it meant you could predict what you would earn that year and be able to tell your bank manager with confidence. Gone are the days of such predictability. Nowadays farming can be a volatile and dangerous sector to be in and that is why we think it is important for us to be forging these links with local farmers and forming relationships more enduring than the whimsy of the food markets. Our food producers are families in our communities and responsible for the health of our land and should be treated as such. 

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