Archive for August, 2017

Land of Plenty


Charlie Pye-Smith


Our farmers are facing the most uncertain future for a generation given the decision to withdraw from the European Union and its Common Agricultural Policy. In Land of Plenty, Charlie Pye-Smith travels the length and breadth of Britain to provide a rich and timely portrait of an essential aspect of our national heritage: farming.


No other walk of life possesses such a diversity of people and enterprises and Charlie Pye-Smith spends time with all of them. From lowland estates which use the latest computer-based technologies to remote hill farms; from ultramodern indoor dairy units producing millions of litres of milk a year to small, old-fashioned farms making cheese with 20 or 30 cows; from tenants who have just joined the industry to landowners whose families have farmed the same bit of land since Norman times.

While interest in the natural world is flourishing, most people have to go back several generations or more before they can find an ancestor who worked on the land. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority are ignorant about country matters and have only the haziest knowledge about the people who are supplying us with the most essential thing in life: our daily bread and butter, meat and fish, fruit and vegetables. Travelling around Britain during the past year, Charlie Pye-Smith shines a light on this most vital national industry.

The great British countryside has changed immeasurably over the past century. Land of Plenty explores its past, present and future alongside topics such as agricultural labour, self-sufficiency in food production, farming subsidies and Brexit. Covering the dairy industry in Somerset and Gloucestershire; beef in the Scottish Borders; sheep in North Yorkshire; pigs and poultry in East Anglia and Hampshire; vegetables in Norfolk; fruit in Essex and the West Country, Land of Plenty captures an industry with a remarkable ability to adapt and embrace innovation.

Before taking up his place at university, Charlie Pye-Smith spent a year working on a mixed farm in the Yorkshire Dales and farming remains his first love. He reports regularly on global farming and environmental issues for international research and development agencies and the media. He has written numerous books, including The Facts of Rural Life, Trees for Life and The Subsidy Scandal and co-authored Working the Land and The Wealth of Communities.




“This book is a quest. A couple of years ago, the writer and broadcaster Charlie Pye-Smith set off in a Dormobile around the British countryside in search of British agriculture. I know, I know – I’ve already lost my younger readers…But we need to take where our food comes from seriously. As well as health, ethics and cost, there’s the matter of sustainability – how much food will we grow in these islands after Brexit and what are the implications for security of our supply? Pye-Smith’s investigation is thorough and at times remarkable.” The Times

“If you want to know the countryside, get out into it. Charlie Pye-Smith did just that for his book Land of Plenty and the result is a brilliantly well observed story of the British countryside, its history and its future.” Western Morning News

“Charlie Pye-Smith has done his work thoroughly and produced a welcome corrective to the kind of hysterical, ill-informed rubbish spouted by the like of Chris Packham on the issue of badgers and bovine TB. The story he tells is full of hope and trepidation. We can make a better, cleaner job of producing the food we need. We can repair the land. We can clean the rivers. We can bring back birds and mammals and butterflies. But we need the farmers to do it.” Literary Review

“Charlie Pye-Smith’s lifelong love of agriculture, and the countryside, is self-evident in his timely new book… It’s not just recommended reading for all those who have a special affinity with rural Britain, warts and all, but it should be top of the summer reading
list for every Cabinet minister. If Brexit is to work for all, the country needs a farming and food policy that is fit for purpose.” Yorkshire Evening Post

“Land of Plenty by Charlie Pye-Smith is a much needed exploration of farming in the UK today… In writing this he returns ‘ownership’ of food to us all and suggests that domestically grown food is too valuable to take for granted. It is up to everyone, urban or rural, young or old, Brexiteer or Remainer, to support our food producers (and by default landscape managers) by buying British, helping to ensure out rural communities remain resilient long into the future.” http://www.thinkingcountry.com

“Interested in how your food gets to you in Britain? Then Land of Plenty is a must-read…This accessible introduction to farming is a nuanced account of the countryside that is neither romantic or damning but refreshingly balanced. Its closing message is hard to forget, shining a light on our collective responsibility for the resilience of our farmers and security of our food: “Living in a land of plenty should be a reality, not just an aspiration, and we consumers have as much of a part to play as our farmers.””  http://www.farmdrop.com


Pub date: 27 July 2017
Price: £20 Hardback

Land of Plenty is published by Elliott & Thompson Books and can be bought from
amazon.co.uk, Waterstones or hive.co.uk

For more information, contact Ollie Dewis at olliedewis@icloud.com or
07531 803 375 http://www.eandtbooks.com / Twitter: @eandtbooks

Read Full Post »