Farming is one of man’s most basic activities. Everyone needs to nourish themselves daily. History, culture and community values are in farming. The principles apply to agriculture in the broadest sense. It is the way people tend soils, water, plants and animals. They do this in order to produce food. It concerns the way people act with land. This relates to one another and shapes legacy.
Health – Organic agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil.
Ecology – Organic agriculture should be based on living ecological systems and cycles.
Fairness – Organic agriculture should build on relationships that ensure fairness.
Care – Organic agriculture should be managed in a responsible manner.
Organic farming in Rushall and Upavon.
Nigel and Joe farm the land at Rushall and Upavon as one. The business covers almost 2000 hectares of land. Half of this is arable land. The rest is permanent grass, woodland or is military land which the farm rents.
The soil around the farm is a loam over chalk. The soil drains the water well. Water collects in the Hampshire Avon. Cropping on the farm consists of 3 years of cereals (wheat, barley, oats) followed by 3 years of clover crops. This along with the permanent grassland support a flock sheep and a small number of Sussex cows.
Rushall Organics is based on land that has been farmed by the Wookey family since 1928. This was when Charles Wookey took up the tenancy of the Upavon farm holding. Percy would go on to buy the nearby Rushall farm holding in 1946.
Barry was the first to bring organic farming to the area. He started the conversion of the Rushall holding to organics in 1970. The process was not finished until 1985. Barry’s son Nigel initiated the conversion of the Upavon land to organics in the early 90s. He completed the switch by the turn of the millennium.
A simplistic definition of organics is ‘farming without chemicals’. During the conversion of our own farm we used the term ‘chemical-free’. This does not cover the concept of organic farming. Nor does it convey anything of the philosophy behind it. It becomes more complex the more you think about it. The philosophy behind organic farming concerns the complete cycle soil – plant – animal – man.
For more information on organic farming, please visit the Soil Association