Tag Archives: Nature



Photograph © Daniel J NorwoodPhotograph by Daniel J. Norwood

In the summer  of 2013 Jos Smith set out to walk the length of the first                    section of the proposed route of HS2 from London to…



I have just been watching two short, most entertaining and thoughtful talks on sustainable agriculture from Dan Barber on http://www.Ted.com. Both talks show what is possible if people follow the passion in their lives for working with the Earth’s incredible resources and the results they achieve are extraordinary and a lesson to us how to survive, way into the future without harm to livestock and creating something healthy and sustainable. The link to the first one is:


Red Snapper

According to the above website, http://www.Ted.com:  “Chef Dan Barber squares off with a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu. With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles his pursuit of a sustainable fish he could love, and the foodie’s honeymoon he’s enjoyed since discovering an outrageously delicious fish raised using a revolutionary farming method in Spain…Dan Barber is a chef and a scholar — relentlessly pursuing the stories and reasons behind the foods we grow and eat

The second short talk. “A foie gras parable” tells the story of a small farm in Spain that has found a humane way to produce foie gras. Raising his geese in a natural environment, farmer Eduardo Sousa embodies the kind of food production Barber believes in.

Park 2

The link to this is: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_barber_s_surprising_foie_gras_parable.html?source=email#.Uo5E6MIvdyA.email

The website, http://www.Ted.com shows a variety of short videos on many different subjects and what they say about Dan Barber is:

Why you should listen to him:

Dan Barber is the chef at New York’s Blue Hill restaurant, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester, where he practices a kind of close-to-the-land cooking married to agriculture and stewardship of the earth. As described on Chez Pim: “Stone Barns is only 45 minutes from Manhattan, but it might as well be a whole different universe. A model of self-sufficiency and environmental responsibility, Stone Barns is a working farm, ranch, and a three-Michelin-star-worthy restaurant.” It’s a vision of a new kind of food chain.

Barber’s philosophy of food focuses on pleasure and thoughtful conservation — on knowing where the food on your plate comes from and the unseen forces that drive what we eat. He’s written on US agricultural policies, asking for a new vision that does not throw the food chain out of balance by subsidizing certain crops at the expense of more appropriate ones.

In 2009, Barber received the James Beard award for America’s Outstanding Chef, and was named one of the world’s most influential people in Time’s annual “Time 100” list.

The third talk is a moving account of Brazilian farmer’s son whose life’s work has been to produce sugar cane in the most ethical, organic and natural way, linking the cane fields to his beloved rain forests in which he played as a child. It was broadcast on 10th November, 2013  on BBCRadio 4, Food Programme and is called:

 The Sugarman of Brazil

It is an extraordinary story of a man who is showing us the way to produce our food. It  is to be found on the BBC Podcast and the link to it is:


Tropical Rain Forest

Even though sugar is primarily empty calories, some sugar is essential and if we are going to eat it, let’s make it the most organic, natural sugar from sustainable agriculture.

I’d love to hear stories of other people producing food in a way that enriches the Earth?


We didn’t plan to visit the Vallee de Tortues. We’d intended to walk up the Gorge Lavail in the Alberes in the French Pyrenees but we couldn’t find the right road and we ended up outside a tortoise conservation centre.

When I was 9 years old, I found a tortoise on a path at the back of our house and took it home.  We asked all around but no-one knew who it belonged to.  I loved it, even when it embarrassed everyone by pooping on the lap of my favourite uncle! After a couple of weeks, it escaped, never to be heard of again. I remembered the look of it, the feel of it, the prehistoric quality of it.

So here we were and I was really excited, not knowing what to expect.  Well, I fell in love with them all over again. I felt that sense of wonder that I remember feeling as a little girl. There were tiny babies in the nursery, the smallest must have been quite recently hatched.  All sizes, shapes, and beautiful designs, their eyes seemed to take in everything around them.  Just watching them slowed me down and made me think about the balance that is often missing from modern life, that ability to ‘be’ and just take in.  They had the quality of trees and those that stayed very still seemed to be deeply rooted into the Earth. Others moved towards new patches of grass and then chewed contentedly. I was reminded of that wonderful primal connection that we have with the animals and plants on the Earth when we take the time to ‘be’ with them.  Time passed very slowly in that place and I found myself smiling a lot.

What inspires you and makes you smile?

These photos came from the Vallee de Tortues website: http://www.lavalleedestortues.fr.