Hathor Farm, a new farming project at Sacred Earth which will be supported by Just Growth in 2017, has a focus on animal husbandry.
Emile Webber, the main farmer involved in the project, is clear about how he sees Hathor Farm working at Sacred Earth: “We seek to contribute to the vision of Sacred Earth in ways which celebrate and honour the natural balance and integrity of the land. Everything in nature is about balance and the farmer’s greatest challenge and responsibility is to maintain this balance.”
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 at Sacred Earth but we are also ethical, transparent and generous in our relationships within the wider community. For this reason Hathor Farm will be an open farm environment which honours learning and personal and community growth and development. We can all take on a role as stewards of our land – to preserve it for future generations.”
Two Large Black pigs which are both in litter were introduced onto the land recently. As well as being the first additions to Hathor Farm’s livestock, the pigs will also provide an important function at Sacred Earth with respect to ploughing and fertilising the ground. Oliver Bettany, a budding Ecotherapist and Permaculturist who has joined the team at Sacred Earth in 2015, is enthusiastic about their potential in this regard: “Within a few hours of arriving on the land the pigs were happily churning up the ground 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 here 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 they dig up. Minimising input and maximising output… this is the permaculture way!”