Edward Acland – erstwhile host, director and RHC with WWOOF UK – has spent many years inspiring, encouraging and challenging the thinking of members and staff alike. He joined us for the Members weekend this year at Kepplewray and once again brought fresh ideas to share…
new stories need new words!
The added ‘u’ in GUARDENING is intentional! We GUARDEN a fifteen acre smallholding at Sprint Mill in Cumbria. We attempt to demonstrate how humankind, on our microcosm scale can be of benefit to Planet Earth. Aiming for a sustainable future feels rather unadventurous! Alternatively, the spiral of being of benefit to the planet can go on forever! So the GUARDENING philosophy aims to show how land stewardship protects and guards the needs of all creatures that reside in any given space, not just Homo sapiens.
We follow nature’s leadership rather than exploit all available terminal resources. Consequently we utilise the interest of the delicate biosphere, rather than removing the capital.
the tools of the GUARDENING ‘trade’
There is much discussion about promoting renewable energy. Meanwhile the most neglected form of renewable energy is human energy. The market place capitalists are forever tempting us with mechanical gadgets, propelled by finite energy consuming motors. The arms and legs of human beings should be actively promoted as the ‘new’ form of fossil-fuel-free ‘machinery’ opportunity. We utilise human powered tools in our GUARDEN. Modern scythes mow the grass…hand forks turn it into hay…a hand baler makes small hay bales…a foot-treadle pole lathe fulfils our wood turning needs…a hand-turned chafe chopper slices up comfrey, brambles and vegetable ‘waste’ which is mixed with hen muck and wood ash to produce crumbly, nutritious garden compost.
GUARDENING as an art form
Our fifteen acres have become a creative installation. Wherever one goes on the holding are signs of tender loving care…be it habitat stick piles from sorting a fallen tree…miniature ‘wilderness’ to allow nature the freedom of ‘running riot’…seats to encourage us and visitors to take stock and stop and sit awhile to pick up the wonder of sounds, smells, and visions…hand made machine-free crafted gates are numerous, made from wood grown on the holding…bird boxes are dotted about everywhere…thistles are often cluttered with butterflies…plug plants, grown from local seed, are introduced into the hay meadows. Understanding the workings of the biosphere is fundamental to restoring damaged biodiversity. Our smallholding is becoming a work of art…to help demonstrate the art of long-term human survival, which is the most important art form of all!
what drives the passion of our story?
Really, the heart of it, is to fall in love with our home, Planet Earth…recognising its possible uniqueness in the cosmos…worshipping and rejoicing in the livingness of it all…and respecting the ultimate privilege of all, being a human being…taking a position in the evolutionary ‘hierarchy’…not to be abused but grasped, so we can understand our raison d’être, thus our common destiny…so we can move forward into the next evolutionary shift of our species, via cutting out the rot, the hatred, the wicked, and discovering a new safe and secure layer…a proper global village, restored by a positive contagion of deep passivism and deep ecology. But that’s for another story, extending well beyond the boundary of our smallholding.