This site is maintained by Chris Smaje of Vallis Veg, a small farm in the southwest of England. It aims to explore in an engaged but open-minded way the case for small-scale farming, both in the richer and the poorer parts of the world.
The end of the small farm, the family farm, the smallholding, the peasantry – all slightly different, but call it what you will – has long been predicted, though never fully realised. Still, there seems to be a clamour of voices urging its demise – from development specialists to anthropologists, economists to politicians, Marxists to neoliberals, environmentalists to agronomists, architects to urban planners. Usually, the best interests of small farmers themselves, or of society more generally, are given as the reason for wishing them into history. It’s worth taking these views seriously, but there’s another side to the story which is less widely heard. I hope visitors to this site will find in it an interesting collection of discussions, links, research and resources that make the case for the continued relevance of small-scale farming around the world to the present, and the future.
Chris is a social scientist by training, with degrees in anthropology, health planning and sociology. He is an occasional writer and researcher on farming and environmental issues, but is now a full-time grower/farmer at Vallis Veg where he has discovered that it’s a lot harder to do farming than to write about it, but probably more important and more rewarding (at least in a non-economic sense…).