Sunday, 25 February 2018

The Soil Never Sleeps

The Soil Never Sleeps but sometimes a blog must slumber and I have decided to end this blog with a little tribute to a kind client. After all it is our clients to whom we sell our skill and knowledge that are the final arbiter of our work and whether it was worthwhile.

Some time ago my good friend, Jane Lambert of Counsel, an insatiable blogger to whose ongoing work I commend you, introduced to me a farmer in search of some trade mark advice. A certain amount of time and a great deal of endeavour later, he and his colleagues had established the PASTURE FOR LIFE movement. My role was modest, but we did manage to achieve the certification mark registration at the UK IPO
navigating the sometimes arcane requirements of the examination system. The certification mark is a central element of  any Association that wants to make a valid promise about the quality and origin of produce . The carefully drafted rules set an objective standard that is more than marketing hype.

I was delighted last April to receive two poems printed on card that now adorn my work-space. For not only is the Pasture for Life Association (PFLA) a certifying authority for the best meat you can buy but they also have a poet in residence. How cool is that? Food for the body and the mind. You can listen to the poem of the title here: But that was not all my generous client sent. Next came a whole book of poems and this I commend to you because they are so wonderfully evocative. It's a slim volume but it contains interleaved stories of visiting PASTURE FOR LIFE farms during four seasons of the year.
In Spring in Cornwall at Woodland Valley Farm, Ladock you will meet the Cavalry of Janet.
In Summer in Yorkshire you can rest against a wall at Hill Top Farm, Malham. 
This is a poem entitled 4 minutes 33 seconds and the typesetter has not told you where to spend them. It cries out to be read aloud, but meditatively, a word or phrase at a time. If you were a teacher this would be a great book for class work. It's accessible and many of the poems tell stories and all celebrate the beauty and productivity of the English countryside.
In Autumn at Romshed Farm in Kent you can watch (I know its a poem) Bella the pig farrowing and the chickens being fed.
To encourage you to run off and buy this elegant volume over on the author's website take a little Suppertime with Adam Horovitz:. It's not all the poem just a snack to tempt you:

You can't escape eating meat

on  a pasture farm, Felicity says, It's
almost as a natural as breathing.
She looks wistfully at her vegetables
while sister Jackie, determinedly thirteen,

balks and begs for sausages, will not
touch the chilli Chris has made.
He hasn't told them about the beans.
If they're good for feeding pigs,

they're quite good enough for us,
he'd said as he scooped them,
mischievous, from the sack
at lunchtime. His son,

home late from school,
sits and wolfs his plate of chilli down.
That was great, he says.
What meat did you use?

The book is published by Palewell Press and I am grateful for their permission and Adam's to reproduce the above extract which is, of course, a copyright work.


  1. Hi Barbara - really interesting to read ... and co-incidental to my present position here in Canada ... cows. I hope to get some copies of the book of poems. Sorry you're giving the blog up - but understand. Cheers Hilary

  2. There's definately a great deal to learn about this topic.
    I love all the points you have made.