From the trauma of 2001 FMD and
subsequent events CONSERVATIONWATCHER was born
The co-editors of this
website comprise a man who learned the hard way to survive the
rigours of a hill farming life. From that work has come a deepening
understanding of the countryside and the belief that the knowledge
gathered over more than four decades should be passed on to others.
Helping him are a
hill farmer's wife and two former
“urbanites” who worked
throughout the FMD disaster. One has developed a keen knowledge of
agriculture and in particular, the issues affecting commoners &
graziers. Her correspondence with the local and farming press pokes a
sharp finger into the tender areas of an un-thinking government. !
Her husband chaired an
auction company which took the brave decision in 2001 to build a new
mart which has been of immense benefit to West Cumbrian farmers and
the local community.
farmer's wife, over and above her normal arduous duties, has spent
years identifying and propagating many of our old traditional and
almost forgotten apples.
Together they form the
nucleus of an approach which many will find easy to comprehend and
will add to the store of knowledge. Before the recent world financial
crisis there was scant interest in looking at sustainability in food
supply. Now we can all see it is a matter of the greatest importance.
Hill farmers will
give you a wry smile when you mention “green”
issues. They have been producing food in a near-organic condition
for hundreds of years: they do not need to be reminded. What they do
need is a market for their goods and a movement to ensure their
environment is not violated by those who believe they know better.
There are many
organisations which claim to be conservationists, but that have a
blinkered, or tunnel-visioned approach. They do not, or will not see
that so often the 'saving' of one species endangers another.
The reality is that if we
continue to neglect the countryside of Gt. Britain we will continue
to lose our wild birds and wildflowers because someone has forgotten
the simple “cycle” – grass eaten by
livestock passes out into
droppings which encourages bugs and insects which in turn, provide
food for wild birds. A richer soil encourages plant growth which
attracts bees, butterflies, birds and other small animals.- If we
continue to pay landowners to neglect the hills and uplands, which are
of producing good meat naturally and economically, we will starve.
Easy isn't it?
Ruskin, the Lakeland
writer said: “ What we think or what we know or what we
is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what