A Cool Head – Wheelbarrow Farm (Gloucestershire)

 When a food production system is as broke as the one of the western world is, it is no good tinkering around the edges. The current system is destroying the very earth on which we depend and yet, in its drive to cheaper and cheaper food, is producing more and more imbalance between the ‘haves’ and have nots’. A radical new approach – or approaches – is required – a case of learning from the past and moving on with new farming and growing systems which are actively regenerative of the land and soil, the environment, community and communities, and ultimately our individual souls.

My name is Walter Lewis. I am a documentary photographer and researcher and in 2015 I travelled around England and Wales seeking out people who have a made choice to produce food in an ethical and sustainable way. In such cases, food production is more often than not locally focused, often community based, organic or biodynamic in method, small in scale, highly rotational and biodiverse, low in energy use, low in intervention and high in animal welfare. It is everything that factory farming is not, and produces food of quality and seasonality within, or close to, consuming communities.

In choosing to grow in this way the practitioners are not opting for an easy way out. The life is demanding, and motivation is often linked to environmental activism – the protest is by growing food through a new agroecology. In making such a choice, these alternative farmers and growers provide the rest of us with a choice as to where we source our daily food. Is it to be ethically sourced or are we to support the fault-bestrewn status quo as found in every supermarket. It is a choice which challenges the fundamentals of our attitude towards our earth.

Feeding Body and Soul is where I will recount the journey I made around many who are choosing to grow and source their food in more sustainable and ethical ways. The main element of the site is ‘The Visits’ timeline where you will find an overview and thoughts arising for each visit and some pictures that I made there.

You can browse through the whole timeline, or pull out posts by location  using the collations list to the right of the screen. If you can’t find anything of interest, try the search facility. Double clicking on an image in the tiled mosaic of a post will open up a slideshow through which all the images can be viewed at leisure. Try Full Screen – means pressing F11 on my machine to set the image area of my browser to full screen. To escape press F11 again.

Early morning picking at Chagford Community Market Garden (Chagfood)

If you like what you see do please share on social media sites (see the buttons below). The more we have engaging with an alternative food supply, the more the well being of both ourselves and our earth will be improved. Everyone can do their bit in making this a better planet by choosing to eat respectfully and sustainably. Forget the politicians and government – they are lost souls, driven only by their own ego. Change can only come from all of us individually choosing to live better lives. The stories on this blog are the stories of people who have made that choice in a big way.

Whilst this blog provides a platform for showing numerous images of each visit, I have also published a book on my travels and experiences.  Whilst inevitably more selective in the places covered and the images used than on the blog, I hope the book presents the strong composite picture of the alternative food production movement across England and Wales. Details of the book – entitled Unlikely Heroes – can be found here.