Independence Day

Here at Small Farm Future we cherish our independence fiercely so we’re not in the habit of taking money to promote special interests (though anyone reading this in possession of a fortune and in want of a good cause should certainly feel free to contact me). Nor, for the same reason, do we usually promote external events or products. However, on this occasion I’ve decided to offer a puff for Independence Day, which is being held here in Frome, Somerset on 17 November.

The event is a “day of debate, conversation and information-sharing” on the theme of “supermarkets, big retail and the future of our communities” – subjects close to the heart of this blog, and I imagine anyone with an interest in sustainable small-scale farming. The organisers have put together an impressive list of speakers, including the likes of Andrew Simms (author of Tescopoly), Rob Hopkins of Transition Towns fame, the food journalist Joanna Blythman and…what’s this?…Chris Smaje, the renowned blogmaster of small farm future and proprietor of Vallis Veg.

The problem of how to move the global food system onto a more sustainable and socially just path can seem pretty intractable, but I’m going to do my best to leave my Eeyore suit at home on this occasion and get a dose of inspiration from the day. Having endured the worst growing season ever, suspended my business, had the planning application that would have given it a lifeline turned down, seen the true colours of the “greenest government ever” shine through (it’s a deep, dark blue) and watched the tendrils of the corporate food sector gradually extend their grip on plucky little Frome over the last year, there are plenty of reasons not to be cheerful. Still, nothing worth achieving was ever won without a fight…so here’s to Independence Day. I hope I might see you there.

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