My book review of 'Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution' by Sarah Langford
As soon as I heard that Sarah Langford had written her second book I requested an advance copy immediately.
I had been completely enthralled, horrified, inspired and informed by her first book 'In Your Defence' recalling her career as a criminal defence barrister, and was eager to find out what she had to share with us next.
Having left the law to have a family, Sarah is now living with her husband and two young sons near Debenham in Suffolk. They have land here that they are endeavouring to farm regeneratively and her personal experience of this process led Sarah to investigate what other farmers were doing, in East Anglia and elsewhere in the country.
She discovered that a new generation of farmers were either selling up or deciding to do things completely differently. The impacts of intensive agriculture on the land have become more apparent and destructive. There is a big shift happening, she says.
In 'Rooted' she investigates how attitudes to farmers and farming have changed since her grandfather's generation when it was seen as a duty and a privilege to feed the nation. Today farmers are held to ransom by huge supermarkets, forced to work unsustainably as they are required to provide food at the cheapest possible prices.
The challenges of climate change, Brexit, falling incomes, accusations of ecological mismanagement, a hostile press and public - these issues and more are all addressed in a beautifully written personal response which is impossible to put down!
Many of the stories of the individual farmers she's met are shocking and upsetting in all that they've experienced, and ultimately this is an account of the destruction of our land. But in her warm, honest and passionate response, Sarah leaves the reader feeling uplifted and energised and, ultimately, hopeful, not least because of the good people who are trying to make a difference. And she equips us and encourages us to play our part too.