Cranscombe Cleave and Ultra-Ultra-Modern Ecological Agriculture
Agriculture today threatens our planet more than any other human activity. It pollutes land, air and water with chemicals and plastics. It deforests, even in the case of organic farming. And it uses excessive amounts of energy. (The best energy budget for any agricultural activity is 1 calorie produced for every 7 calories used).
Mainly as a result of agriculture, a species a day becomes extinct, and the reduction in species diversity is unbalancing the natural recycling of the biosphere.
Aesthetic concerns are also of great importance. Why should all our countryside be converted into Rural Industrial Sites? This is what farms have become, with their ever-increasing numbers and size of buildings, roads and land clearances.
There are also the concerns of the animals themselves, who are crowded into enormous buildings and suffer all their lives in order for farmers to make more money. As Y. N. Harari put it:
“Over the last two centuries tens of billions of animals have been subjected to a regime of industrial exploitation whose cruelty has no precedent in the annals of planet Earth.” Sapiens, A brief history of Humankind, Penguin 2014
On top of this, Genetic Modification of animals and plants is taking place at an alarming rate. For example, more and more cattle can now hardly walk, or give birth only with cesarean sections, in order to increase the profit to the farmer. Yet each animal still feels, is sentient and has needs and desires, just like us.
It is time that we reconsidered how food for humans can be achieved without putting the living planet, and humans themselves, at risk, and without mass suffering.
Ecological Agriculture, which started in the 1970’s, is
- modeled on the natural ecosystem self-sustaining characteristic
- diversified, meaning that many different plants and animals are produced
- energy efficient, balancing the calories used by those produced
- high yielding, producing more food per unit area than conventional high input farming
- based on ethical concerns, in which the needs of all species, including humans, are central
- concerned with aesthetics.
In Ecological Agriculture, the whole farm becomes a nature reserve and increases species diversity.
Over the last 50 years we have been learning and putting into practice Ecological Agriculture. We’ve farmed in Sussex, Isle of Mull, Dartmoor National Park, Ely, and The Pre-Alps in France, and we recently relocated to Cranscombe Cleave, a small 42-acre farm on Exmoor.
The public are now more aware of the great dangers of agriculture to the natural world, and their own survival. At Cranscombe Cleave, we hope to encourage people on Exmoor and elsewhere – individuals, small-scale landowners, millionaire owners, organizations and governments – that meaningful change is possible.
Our aim is to demonstrate how a farm can provide a good quality life to the humans and animals that live there, cover its costs, and itself be a nature reserve.
Our message is that we can all make a real difference to how we produce our food, without causing mass suffering or environmental disasters.
Marthe Kiley-Worthington & Chris Rendle
For more information
M. Kiley-Worthington, Ecological Agriculture, Souvenir Press 1993
M. Kiley-Worthington, Family are the Friends You Choose, TSL 2021