Farmerama Radio is an award-winning podcast sharing the voices behind regenerative farming.
We are committed to positive ecological futures for the earth and its people, and we believe that farmers of the world will determine this.
Each month, we share the experiences of grass roots farmers instigating radical change for the future of our food, our health, and the planet. Tune in to hear how these producers are discovering a more ecological farming future and to learn how their decisions can have a positive impact on us all. This is regenerative farming in action.
Landed part 3: Colonial connections
In Part 2, farmer’s son Col Gordon explored the ways in which the colonisation of Highland Scotland destroyed a rich pre-colonial culture and relationship to the land. But in Part 3, he learns that the story of Scotland as the victim of colonial practices is just one part of a much bigger narrative.
The Highlands is one of the least racially diverse parts of the UK, and it would be easy to think of the area as far removed from the UK’s grim colonial history – a place where racial justice and reparations have no direct relevance. But, as Col discovers, this would be far from the truth.
Col traces the connections – some indirect, others very concrete – between the rural landscape he grew up in and global patterns of displacement, exploitation and enslavement. To dig deeper, he speaks with Josina Calliste, co-founder of Land in Our Names (LION) – a Black-led, grassroots collective committed to reparations in Britain by connecting land and climate justice with racial justice – and explores what it means to be a person of colour in rural Scotland today.
Landed is produced by Col Gordon and Katie Revell, with Executive Producer Abby Rose.
Our Project Manager is Olivia Oldham.
Huge thanks to Josina Calliste for her guidance and input and to Sarah Nicholas for all her help and support. Thanks also to Jo Barratt.
The music for Landed is by Dagger Gordon and me, Col Gordon.
This episode featured David Alston, Josina Calliste, Iain MacKinnon, Srik Narayanan and Philomena de Lima
Funding for the project was provided by the funding platform Necessity.
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Landed part 2: Re-storying the landscape
Over the last 250 years, Gaelic culture in the Highlands of Scotland has experienced what academic Iain MacKinnon refers to as “cultural devastation”. For farmer’s son, Col Gordon, the forced displacement of people during the Highland Clearances, and the dismantling of Gaelic language and traditions, are best understood through the lens of colonisation. Now, only small pockets of Gaelic culture remain, detached from the conditions and ways of life that they evolved in.
In this episode, Col learns about the pre-colonial attitudes of the Gaels towards the land, investigating the question of what came before the family farm. What he finds is a system based on community and collective work, with a yearly migration to the hillside “shieling” to graze the cattle and rejuvenate the spirit. Above all, what he finds is a fundamentally different way of relating to the land – an understanding that people belong to the land, not the other way around.
Could a revival of these “indigenous” practices, and these relationships to the land, provide a route forward? And, if so, how might we “re-indigenise” in an open and inclusive way?
Landed is produced by Col Gordon and Katie Revell, with Executive Producer Abby Rose. Our Project Manager is Olivia Oldham. Huge thanks to Josina Calliste for her guidance and input and to Sarah Nicholas for all her help and support. Thanks also to Jo Barratt. The music for Landed is by Dagger Gordon and Col Gordon.
Landed part 1: The family farm
“What if we’ve been getting this wrong?”
Col Gordon is a farmer’s son from the Scottish Highlands. After a decade away, he’s finally returned to the place that he loves: his family farm. Now, he’s eager to start realising his vision for an agroecological future: a future in which rural areas are alive with culture, many more people work on the land, farms operate in sympathy with nature, and nutritious food is available to everyone in society.
But now that he’s back, Col’s starting to wonder whether this vision can be achieved within the existing family farm model. Increasingly, it seems the odds are stacked against farms like his. Many are struggling to survive, let alone to employ people and deliver good food affordably to local communities. As older farmers retire without succession plans, and their land is amalgamated into large industrial operations, the future of the small family farm looks pretty bleak.
As he wrangles with all of this, Col stumbles across something that throws his vision – and his very understanding of farming – into doubt. What does it mean to say that “The family farm is a colonial concept”? And might this jarring idea be the key to understanding the problem – as well as its potential solutions?
Landed is produced by Col Gordon and Katie Revell, with Executive Producer Abby Rose. Our Project Manager is Olivia Oldham. Huge thanks to Josina Calliste for her guidance and input and to Sarah Nicholas for all her help and support. Thanks also to Jo Barratt. The music for Landed is by Dagger Gordon and me, Col Gordon.
66: Ecosystem agriculture, the probiotic turn and regenerative flower growing
This month we are introduced to the importance of ecosystem architecture by a forest ecologist and winegrower. We hear from two researchers investigating a shift in how we understand our relationship with the natural world - from one where humans are in control, to one where we work with other life-forms and biological processes to build human and ecosystem health. And we finish hearing one grower’s experience of implementing regenerative techniques on her flower farm.
65: Community farm investment, Naked Oat Mylk and Palestinian fair trade
This month we start with a fond farewell to internationally renowned water specialist Professor Tony Allen, most noted for his pioneering work on the concept of virtual water. We’ll hear a conversation with him from 2017 about the OurField Project. We then hear from the Kindling Trust. They work on a range of projects that model a fairer, more responsible, ecologically restorative food system, and are opening up an opportunity to invest in their new farming endeavours in Manchester. Next, farmer John Turner introduces us to a new vision of dairy farming- a vegetarian dairy farm producing cow’s milk alongside innovative naked oat mylk. Tiger and Float are making this oat mylk, using the naked oats that John is growing. Finally we meet Mohammed Ruzzi, a fair trade farmer in Palestine, who talks to us about the role of regenerative farming and the Zaytoun cooperative in supporting a better life for Palestinian farmers.
64: Dung beetles, herbal medicine, hydrology and soil carbon
This month, we learn from an entomologist in Wiltshire about the importance of dung beetles in our farming systems. We hear how a medical herbalist in London is bringing people together to care for and heal each other and a soil microbiologist shares how restoring hydrological cycles is vital in mitigating the climate crisis and how the soil carbon sponge is core to that.
Such a great resource. Really love it all. The team isn’t dogmatic about one agricultural system, which makes it so much more informative. Have shared with lots of people not interested in agriculture because I feel what they cover is really interesting!
I’m in my second season at a small organic farm in Worcestershire and this podcast is the best companion I could ask for. It reminds you why you’re doing what you’re doing and the people who share your values that are working towards similar things. It’s so very well done. Insightful, peaceful, and informative. I love the layout, it keeps you interested with the range of topics on each podcast and is just goddamn beautiful to listen to! One of my favourites.
A genuinely life-changing series
I recently listened to Cereal, the 6 part series about the history of bread, and thought it was one of the best things I've heard in ages. It's genuinely altered my outlook and priorities in terms of how I think about food and and made me resolve to think more about the source of what I buy and eat, and how to better support those who produce it. It's a complicated story but was told excellently - the production and research really set it apart, and it was always interesting and surprising. I've recommended it to so many people and will continue to do so!