Last year (field scale chickpea production year 2) was a real struggle: drought through much of the season, intense heat in late May, then extraordinary rainfall in August. This year (chickpea year 3) hasn’t started much better to be honest: a cold start and prolonged wet conditions are not what chickpeas like.
We know there are no quick fixes, no simple solutions, no one-size-fits all answers to the complex, existential challenges facing us. But agroforestry, a system of farming that combines agriculture with trees, is as close to a perfect answer as we've seen. And now you can see too!
The 2019/20 winter must have been one one the most challenging UK farming has had to endure for many years. We've recently had the wettest period of weather on record with particularly severe flooding affecting the North and West. But even in the South East farmers have not been able to get on the land as it's been so wet.
Pioneering farmers Peter and Andrew Fairs, of Great Tey in Essex, have successfully grown the first ever crop of British chia. These tiny oil-rich seeds represent another step in Hodmedod's mission to increase the diversity of both British farming and British diets.
It's wonderful to see Professor Martin Wolfe's pioneering work on agroforestry reported in the The Guardian & reaching a wider audience. Martin is a long-time friend and mentor to Hodmedod, and grows naked barley, lentils, wheat and more for us. His whole farm system approach and drive for diversity at every level are an inspiration to us