As a farmer I produce meat and cheese from animals that graze in my orchard on diverse, carbon-sequestering grasslands
Last week, I went to the funeral of an old farmer named Brian. Until he died, Brian managed his farm, with its traditional orchards, hedgerows, and meadows, as an ecosystem. I could see from the age of the farmers who came to pay their respects that this way of farming was dying out and being replaced by a farming system that is one of the greatest contributors to the climate and nature crisis we face. However, there is hope. My husband and I, like the many new farmers emerging, learned our approach from these old farmers, who have been through drastic changes in the farming industry, yet have managed to keep alive their knowhow.
Our family-run farm in Dorset produces meat, cheese, vegetables and apple juice, using many of these same agroecological farming methods. Agroecological farming means we nurture the soil, insects, grassland, plants, animals and trees on our land to provide healthy affordable food for our local community. For us, farming isn’t just a business, and it isn’t just about feeding human beings – it’s about feeding all living things on the planet.
Jyoti Fernandes is a farmer based in Dorset