Organic farming in Rushall and Upavon
The land across Rushall and Upavon is farmed as one organic farm. The farm covers almost 2000 hectares of land. Half of this is arable land, which is used to grow crops such as wheat, barley and oats. The rest is permanent grass, woodland or crops grown for biodiversity and environmental benefit. The majority of the soil around the farm is over chalk, that drains the water into the clear chalk stream that runs through the heart farm.
Rushall Organics is based on land that has been farmed by the Wookey family since 1928, when Charles Wookey and his son Percy took up the tenancy of the Upavon farm holding. Percy would go on to buy the nearby Rushall farm holding in 1946, following the Second World War. Percy’s son Barry was the first to bring organic farming to the area, starting the conversion of the Rushall holding to organics in 1970. Barry’s son Nigel initiated the conversion of the Upavon land to organics in the early 90s, completing the switch by the turn of the millennium, which is continued by Joe today.
A simplistic definition of organic farming might be ‘farming without chemicals’. During the conversion of our own farm we used the term ‘chemical-free’ for all fields converted to the system. But this does not really cover the concept of the sustainability of organic farming, nor does it convey anything of the philosophy behind it, which, as with all things in nature, becomes more complex the more you think about it. In fact, the philosophy behind organic farming concerns nothing less than the complete cycle soil – plant – animal – man. Being organic farmers is something we are immensely proud of, and we firmly believe it is the most sustainable way of growing food without damaging our environment.