This sustainable farming project at Sacred Earth will be supported by Just Growth funding and has a focus on animal husbandry.
Emile Webber, the main farmer involved in the project, is clear about how he sees Hathor Farm working: “We seek to contribute to the vision in ways which celebrate and honour the natural balance and integrity of the land,” he says. “Everything in nature is about balance and the farmer’s greatest challenge and responsibility is to maintain this.”
Hathor Farm works with organic and bio-dynamic principles. The animals are fed organically, and if possible in future they will also be fed bio-dynamically. Welfare and respect of the animals is the highest priority.
Emile explains his reasoning for choosing to work with traditional and rare breeds: “They may not deliver the highest yields but they are often much better adapted to the natural environment, are less susceptible to diseases and often have better mothering instincts.”
Although rare breeds exist in relatively small populations, they can make a valuable contribution. They often have qualities which make them well suited to less intensive farming. Even those which are not highly valued at present may well possess characteristics that will be important in the future. For this reason they need to be conserved as an insurance against changing circumstances.
Passionate about farming, Emile is also enthusiastic about being involved in local community life: “I value my connection with my local community. At Hathor Farm we will strive to ensure not only that we honour our relationships with our animals and with the land but we are also ethical, transparent and generous in our relationships within the wider community. For this reason we will be an open farm environment which honours personal learning and community development. We can all take on a role as stewards of our land – to preserve it for future generations.”
Large Black pigs are a key part of Hathor Farm’s livestock and provide an important function in terms of ploughing and fertilising the ground. Within a few hours of arriving on the land the pigs were happily digging for roots and grubs. By moving the boundaries of their living space regularly they will help us to plough and fertilise large strips of land which were not previously suitable for growing food. Another advantage of this approach is that a third of their diet can be obtained from the food they find in the ground. This minimises input and maximises output – this is the permaculture way!