Sweetcorn, rain & stewarding for nature

For too long, our leaders have played identity politics with our collective future. But nature is the preserve of all.

Spring has been miserable in Devon, but it has been worse in the French Vendée. My farm there is normally frantic in late May, as we cut, box, cool, and dispatch lettuces, chard, cabbages, turnips, and beans, while planting peppers and weeding sweetcorn. But when I visited last week, all was calm – not in a good way. 

My weekly calls with the team had failed to convey to me the calamity of the wettest spring we have ever known. The farm is reliant on early sowings, to hit our slot in your boxes ahead of the UK season – but even the fields with drainage remained impassable until it was too late. Most of our turnips and sweetcorn were never planted, and those that were planted are stunted. I suspect that the turnips will not be hugely missed, but our first complete crop failure in 15 years will mean no sweetcorn in your boxes until the first UK cobs ripen in mid-August. 

But it was not all doom and gloom; lettuces have done surprisingly well, and we will pick the first aubergines this week. Encouragingly, semi-retired Didier, who I bought the farm from, says that he is seeing life return to the soils under organic management. Marco, our farm manager, who I had not regarded as a nature lover, was celebrating the number of leverets (young hares) spotted this year.

Restore Nature Now March, Sat 22nd June, London. Can you join us?

For too long, those of us who care about nature have been written off as dangerous radicals, crusty hippies, or naïve idealists. For too long – despite the overwhelming scientific consensus and the existing technical solutions – we have been told that there is no alternative; that we cannot afford to act faster. For too long, our leaders have played identity politics with our collective future. But nature is the preserve of all. Join Chris Packham, the RSPB, the WWF, the Woodland and Wildlife Trusts, the National Trust, Just Stop Oil, and Extinction Rebellion for a legal and family-friendly march on Saturday 22nd June. Our politicians may be divided, but we stand together in demanding nature restoration now.

You could make a huge difference by volunteering as a steward for the day. Every new steward will allow 100 more people to march safely. Full online training is provided by Extinction Rebellion, and new stewards are always paired with experienced stewards.

Find out more and sign up at restorenaturenow.com/volunteer.


Leave a Reply

  1. Speaking as a member of all of the tribes mentioned (a dangerous radical, a not-so-crusty hippy and a long-criticised, laughable, naïve idealist – a dreamer), I have to say that – our day is coming closer. There are more and more of us and – we are united!! Even those who are not regarded as nature lovers (or radicals or hippies or dreamers) are realising that WE NEED RADICAL CHANGE!! It’s time for a new system. Just in case our leaders (who are supposed to be working for the whole) think there is no alternative, keep in mind Doughnut Economics: a system that is conscious, considerate and collaborative and is already being practised in many cities and even countries.

    At a time of election where it seems we have no other ideas than “the ‘ism’s of the last century” – this is a link to a six minute introduction to the idea! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ziw-wK03TSw&t=134s

    And for those who are more ‘business-minded’ – another link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_WPzDVpKvw


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