Everyone from small farms to McDonald’s is getting involved in regenerative agriculture. Could it point the way to a better future for farming?
A pheasant struts around the Garden of Eden. The pheasant is, well, a pheasant, a male, with those long, jaunty tail feathers; the Garden of Eden is the semi-serious name given by Dan Cox, a 39-year-old chef turned farmer, to a patch of land about half the size of a football pitch on his farm in south-east Cornwall. Cox began working on it in 2017 and it is his experiment to create a growing space in complete harmony with nature, but also productive and bountiful with some of the most delicious vegetables you will ever taste.
Cox looks at the pheasant, which is picking at his seeds and shoots, and squints. “They’re like colourful Chinese chickens that have been bred for stupidity and flying upwards,” he says. “There’s nothing good about them. They don’t taste nice. They’re not supposed to be here. They’re very aggressive. You’re going about your business in your garden and the cocks are coming and attacking you. Crazy! Something’s gone wrong, something’s been removed from the system somewhere to allow that thing to flourish in the first place.”