On Wednesday 10th September we are holding a Farm Walk from 16:00 to 19:00 here at Bread Matters, Macbiehill Farmhouse, Lamancha, West Linton, Scottish Borders, EH46 7AZ
The event is well timed, taking place during both the Soil Association’s Organic September and the Real Bread Campaign’s Sourdough September. It includes refreshments, (including sourdough bread made from locally-grown wheat), an overview of the organic agroforestry and innovative crop research and a guided farm walk. Places are free of charge and booking is essential; tickets are available from Eventbrite. Waterproofs and wellies are advised.
Andrew Whitley began creating the organic agroforestry scheme at Macbiehill Farm in 2010 and has planted approximately 6,000 trees and bushes to date. A rotation of cereals, grass and vegetables thrives in the broad alleys between strips of trees, which are grown for food, (nuts, berries etc.) for shelter, and coppiced for timber for the wood-fired oven and wood-burning stoves in the farmhouse. Geese graze the alleys and orchard and bee hives are a recent addition to the diversity. The farm generates energy from a wind turbine, photo voltaics and a passive solar roof.
Whilst we are best known for our artisan bread making courses, held in the farmhouse baking studio with its wood-fired oven, we also pioneer the development of community-supported artisan baking and the use of slow fermentation to make nutritious, digestible bread with a low glycaemic index. Our work on the farm reflects our commitment to creating a fairer, healthier food system, one loaf at a time.
Small areas of heritage varieties of wheat, oats and barley are grown as part of Scotland The Bread, a research project with the triple aims of acceptable yield, bread making quality and nutritional density. Bread Matters is engaging key practitioners and researchers - from seed breeders, farmers, millers and bakers to public health nutritionists - in participatory research and collective action to make better, nutritious bread available to everyone.
Ben Raskin, Soil Association head of horticulture at the Soil Association said:
‘There is always a lot going on at Macbiehill Farm, especially linked to the Scotland the Bread wheat trials - Andrew and Veronica are definitely innovators. Like many organic farmers they take the best of traditional knowledge and combine it with the latest techniques, blazing the trail in modern sustainable farming. I never miss an opportunity to see what they are up to; where they lead, others will follow.’
To find out more about Organic September and its Duchy Originals Future Farming programme, which arranges farm visits throughout the UK, www.soilassociation.org
To find out more about Sourdough September and the work of the Real Bread Campaign, visit http://www.sustainweb.org/realbread/sourdough_september/
Andrew Whitley's latest book DO Sourdough – Slow Bread for Busy Lives was published in May 2014 (DO Book Company).