My interests in organic and environmentally sensitive food production began when I started my degree in Rural Resources Management in 1992. I studied a wide range of subjects including conventional agriculture, forestry, ecology, environmental law and politics, conservation and animal behaviour and welfare. I specialised in organic farming and environmental management. It was during my degree that I studied the differences between modern intensive agriculture, organic farming, permaculture and biodynamics and first became inspired by John Seymour and his approach to self sufficiency. I made the decision not to support intensive mechanised agriculture or factory farming and actually became vegetarian for over 15 years until I started eating my own quail and pigs in 2010. In 2012 I completed a full permaculture design course with The Brighton Permaculture Trust.
I met Andy on a training course when we were both working as full time volunteers for TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) in Cumbria in 1997 and we got together in 2003. Between leaving university and buying our house in 2007 we have both worked in conservation; Andy as a National Park ranger in the Yorkshire Dales and myself as a conservation project leader and coordinator for BTCV in the UK and abroad. We have volunteered with WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) in Scotland, Cornwall, Australia and New Zealand and we spent several years travelling around the UK working as professional house and animal sitters specialising in smallholdings, farms and equine yards. From all these experiences we learnt about the many different methods and techniques of food production, self sufficiency and sustainable living which we have now adapted to suit our own situation.
In order to pay our bills Andy works for The Round Wood Timber Framing Company constructing sustainable buildings using traditional materials and techniques and I do edible garden design, write articles about “microholding” and work as an expedition leader for Biosphere Expeditions.