Land of Plenty: A Journey Through the Fields and Foods of Modern Britain
Golden fields, ripening apples, lowing cattle: our idea of the landscape has been shaped by agriculture, as has the land itself. But in a fast-changing world, how does the great British countryside continue to provide the food we eat?
Most people living in Britain today must go back several generations before they find an ancestor who worked on the land. How much do we really know about those who are supplying us with the most essential things in life: our daily bread and butter, meat and fish, fruit and vegetables?
In Land of Plenty Charlie Pye-Smith travels the length and breadth of these isles to explore the little-understood world of British agriculture. From ultramodern indoor dairy units producing millions of litres of milk a year to small, old-fashioned farms making cheese with twenty or thirty cows, and from landowners whose families have farmed the same fields for centuries to tenants who have just joined the industry, Pye-Smith investigates the timeless connection between land and people in the twenty-first century.
Revealing 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; and fruit in Essex and the West Country, Land of Plenty is a colourful and rewarding travelogue that gets to the very heart of modern British life.
“We need to take where our food comes from seriously … Pye-Smith’s investigation is thorough and at times remarkable” – Clive Aslet, The Times
“Thoughtful … the story he tells is both full of hope and trepidation” – Tom Fort, Literary Review
“Timely … 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 readinglist for every Cabinet minister” – Yorkshire Evening Post
“A brilliantly well observed story of the British countryside, its history and its future … a Rural Rides for the 21st century” – Western Morning News
“Personal and passionate … Pye-Smith is always keen to show that farmers get just as emotional as the rest of us, even if they do it in a gruff and manly way. Its great strength is that it is neither a manifesto or a jeremiad … the view from the ground level is, of course, more complex” – The National
“An eye-opening journey … interesting insight into an industry which has something of an uncertain future” – Cotswold Life
“Captures the spirit of the English countryside … it’s the easiest of reads, with memorable characters, surprising statistics and incisive reflections by this most gentle of authors. … Even those of us steeped in agriculture will find new insights in every chapter” - Country Life Magazine
“Pye-Smith’s writing is approachable … will be enjoyed just as much by someone who has been farming all their life as somebody who knows little about agriculture but is looking for an enjoyable non-fiction read” – Ben Eagle, thinkingcountry.com
“If you are interested in how food gets to you in Britain, be sure to pick up this book” – bookishbeck.wordpress.com