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Monday, Sep 17th 5-Day Forecast Advertisement Now my farm will help teach the world to live without oil, says woman who banished plastic bags from her town By Rebecca Hosking Updated: When I tell people I grew up on a small South Devon farm that has been in our family for seven generations, they picture an idyllic childhood spent gambolling with spring lambs and wandering through freshly cut hayfields on golden summer evenings.
Ours is a traditional livestock farm, worked for the past 50 years by my father and his brother, Phil, and, in reality, what farm life means to me is hard work bordering on drudgery. I may not have especially fond memories of cleaning out steaming cattle barns, but I did have a wonderful childhood.
Before cutting the hay grass he will walk the fields to identify where the skylark nests are so as not to cut too close, and every year he fences off large parts of the flower meadows for the butterflies and to stop the cattle trampling the orchids.
The foxes help keep the rabbit and vole population in check. Waifs and strays from the fields and hedges were constant companions as I was growing up. Abandoned jackdaws, orphaned fox cubs and injured barn owl chicks were all looked after, nursed back to health and, whenever possible, released back into the wild.
However, my parents wanted something better for me than the toil and financial insecurity of farming. For more than a decade, my job took me all over the world, allowing me to film some extraordinary creatures and work with some incredible people, including Sir David Attenborough.
I even found myself on the other side of the camera in when a campaign I started to ban plastic bags from my home town of Modbury, and which I wrote about for The Mail on Sunday, eventually led to supermarkets reducing the number of bags they use and the Government considering legislation to ban them.
Our costs went through the roof - animal feed, diesel for the tractors, agricultural contractor bills - but the biggest rise was in the price of fertiliser.
We use very little chemical fertiliser, but many farms were driven to bankruptcy. With this in mind, I decided to make one last BBC documentary to find out if, and how, modern farming could survive the 21st Century. By seeking advice from experts, pioneer farmers and growers, I heard plenty of dispiriting news, but also discovered how nature holds the key to farming in a low-energy future.
All farms, even organic ones, run on fossil fuel, particularly oil. It powers the machinery and is used to create the fertilisers and pesticides on which modern agriculture is so dependent.
Rebecca, aged six, with a barn owl Now that the price of oil has collapsed, the temptation is to think the crisis is over.
Globally, we use about 30 billion barrels a year to keep our industrial societies functioning. Yet 33 of the 44 oil-producing countries are now in decline.
The ultra-cautious International Energy Agency says: And if they are concerned, then so am I. An energy famine could easily lead to a food famine, even in Britain.Chicago style citation generator is a tool that helps professional writers, researchers, and students generate and manage their in-text citations easy and fast.
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After the triumph of her campaign to rid her home town of plastic bags, REBECCA HOSKING reveals her latest battle - to revolutionise farming and stop Britain plunging into an energy and food crisis.
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