Festival on eco-farm aims to reconnect people with land and food

Set up by young farmers, the Real Farm Festival will feature music, talks and farm activities

Set amidst a swath of green fields just north of London, Real Farm Festival is taking place this weekend, 17-19 June, in an effort to promote more peaceful, self-sufficient and natural ways of living. The event at Church Farm, Hertfordshire, near Stevenage will provide an opportunity for people of any age to discover what it is really like to live a healthy, ‘green’ life and to see a modern farm in action.

“This summer there are many festivals on farms across the country but Real Farm Festival puts the farm at the heart of the event, reconnecting people, land and food,” said Neil Nayar, musical director of Real Farm Festival. “We’re having a party to bring normal folks out to the farm for a weekend to experience what modern farm life is like.”

“We want to bring together a new generation of people from a wide variety of backgrounds to hang out together for a weekend, share good times and also engage in a very important discussion for the future of farming.”

Scientists, philosophers and anthropologists including top organic scientist Prof. Martin Wolfe and biologist Rupert Sheldrake will share their views in a series of conversations entitled Question Time: The New Agrarianism. Real Farm Festival will also be building the first ever edible living room, as well as hosting 40 environmentally-conscious musicians.

Alongside artists performing on the home-made solar and pedal-powered main stage, there will be DJs, drumming, singing, drawing, fermentation, companion planting, yoga workshops and informal musical sessions spread across the fields and campsite.

Helping the festival live up to its name, chickens, cows, sheep and floppy-eared pigs will all be on hand. People will have the opportunity to help the farm run its daily business by feeding the animals and learning how to treat and keep them.

Also, for anyone interested in learning the ancient skill of peg looming, the largest ever blanket made out of sheep’s wool will be attempted to be made.

Prizes will be given to children participating in wheelbarrow and egg and spoon races, ‘welly wanging’ and bobbing for apples in the Pig Olympics. A circus workshop, woodland play area, tractor and trailer ride, hay bale building, wild mask making, face painting and story telling will all be available to keep youngsters busy and energetic without a video screen in sight.

Church Farm has been operating for three years as a mixed, ecological, high-welfare and low-carbon farm, run by 15 young farmers. Ros Brooks, a spokesperson for the festival, said: “In a world where farmers’ choices are dominated by what big supermarkets want, because of them forcing the farms to grow monoculture crops and use fertilizer, Church Farm bucks the trend by being very clever business-wise and strong in its resilience and stubbornness to being pushed around. There are lots of birds, happy animals and people there.”

“Real Farm Festival was set up to get the word out about the campaign for real farming and to celebrate the farm,” Ros added.