Cottages · Food · Wilderness


Trelowarren Farms for the Future

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Victoria Vyvyan, Mount fields, Trelowarren

There’s a lot of sound and fury in the papers about what they call Food Security. Usually they don’t mean food security – they mean Self-Sufficiency, but that sounds a bit too Barbara and Tom in the Good Life. Food Security, with a headline ‘Government Policy guarantees empty shelves’ (we’re all going to starve), gets the pulses running a bit more. 

‘Food Security,’ just in case anyone actually wants to know, and I concede that no-one really does, is the ability of a nation to feed the population and it includes imports and energy costs and all kinds of quite boring externalities. Self-sufficiency is what you rely on when there are Russian submarines in the North Sea. 

At a Farmers Weekly Question Time recently, the first question was, Are we sleepwalking our way to a food crisis in the UK?, to which I replied that we have already been caught napping on the climate crisis and on a collapse in biodiversity, but we still have time to make sure that we manage land for food AND for nature, because the two are inextricably linked.

We must farm for the future and that means doing it all.

If you enjoy the Trelowarren permissive path that runs from the car park to Halliggye and then back up the Garras Drive you will have seen many years of food production, interspersed with some daffodils.

In the Mount fields, we had potatoes, cauliflowers, cabbages, and courgettes, all grown by Southern England Farmers, and to your left as you go out to Halliggye along the track, and back along the drive, grass for silage grown by farmers Richard Dark & Sons and Andrew Bray & Sons, both of whom have large dairy farms.

The Mount fields have done their bit for Food, and it is time for a change. We have double and triple width headlands for these fields (managed for owls and wildlife), but the last crop of cabbages having been scoffed by the Herefords, the ground is turned in and rye grass with barley has been sown. This will be grown for two years with no inputs, and cut as silage to remove the N & K. At every part of the process the soil will be analysed to see how this process is going. At the end of this period, we will aim for a species rich neutral grassland – and back will come Harry Dark’s Herefords for extensive grazing and possibly a cut of hay. Some of the corner field will be allowed to revert to biodiversity rich scrub. 

Fifty acres managed for Food and for Nature, and it’s just the beginning.

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