Year 34: we have sighted land

Being Human

I think it’s safe to tell you what’s going on, now. Enough of the elements are firmly in place.

We’re setting up a small-holding in West Lexham, Norfolk, on 2 acres of land. We will be suppling food to, and helping out with the development of, the new sustainability centre which is being developed there, renovating an old farm (photos, and more about the plans).

Ali has taken up the offer of a full-time job with the UN Principles for Responsible Investment. They are a WONDERFUL organisation who have found a very successful way of enculturing civilisation amongst the financial sector by asking them to adhere to a set of principles. I’m very proud. It’s changing the world in a huge and subtle way.

In addition to some interesting and fun interface design work with an old employer, I’m rekindling Online Personal Assistant. I’m also going to be doing a permaculture course in October for a few weeks.

Our field is just across the road from our house (annotated map) and so very easy to get to. It slopes away to the south, so catches lots of sun, and is bordered on all sides by trees, with many large oaks. It’s a lovely place to be working.

We hope to be getting our first pigs in a month or so, once we’ve re-fenced, and obtained our DEFRA licences. About the same time you will be able to invest in Lexham Farm* Pork Futures, wherein you invest in your pig now, and when it’s ready we supply you with discounted, organic, packed-and-delivered rare-breed pork, butchered and prepared to your wishes. Alas we’re unlikely to have any ready before Christmas, but if we can, you’ll be the first to know.

If you’re thinking – as I know some of you will be, “Sustainability centre? That sounds a bit wafty / dull / predictable / ambitious ..” Then you will probably be reassured by the same fact which first drew me to it: it’s all taking place on the family estate of one of the chaps who established the Secret Garden Party, Ed Colville. This immediately speaks volumes about its vibrancy, and potential to ignite the imagination, whilst being economically sustainable.

If you’re thinking “Sustainability centre? What does that even mean?” then there is an Open Weekend happening on 25-26th September where we’ll talk about what the place is going to be. (In essence, we’re currently looking at a sort of social / rural enterprise Hub type setup, coupled with courses, events, and erm.. things. A blend of renaissance enterprise, the Centre for Alternative Technology without too much geekery, and Findhorn without too much herbally-infused expressive dance)  If you’re disposed, it would be lovely to see you. There will be festivities, tours around the buildings and gardens, camping, and probably swimming if it’s warm. I’ll post more details about this later, but save the date.

I was up at the farm yesterday, emptying the car from our journey back from France, and it’s really very lovely. It’s going to great up there. Everything is right on the doorstep: barns, toolsheds, fields, good people, and just 90 minutes into central London and 30 minutes to the beach. Ideal, really.

* Or whatever it ends up being called. Any ideas? We’ll decide after the Open Weekend.

Ed Dowding

Ed Dowding

Founder, strategist, writer, gadfly, TED talker, world-record holder, and (foolishly) reality-TV farmer. DOES: Innovation, Product, Advocacy THINKS: Regenerative Systems, Institution design, 300 year horizons

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