Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution

Farming formed a large part of my life growing up.  My grandparents were tenant farmers in Hampshire, a farm my Uncle now works.  My father was a land agent.  As a child, much of my life was rooted in the farming world.

But for most of my adulthood I lived and worked in cities: at university and thereafter when I became a barrister.  Then, when I was writing my first book, our circumstances changed. Without really expecting, or particularly wanting to, I moved with my husband, son and baby, out of London and to the edge of a field in Suffolk.  Over the following years we took on the running of his small family farm: replanting hedgerows, re-establishing rights of way, experimenting with different grazing techniques and converting 200 acres of conventional arable to organic.

I found the farmers around me in a very different place to the one my grandfather had been in when he was alive, known and respected for growing the nation's food.  When we moved back to London a few years later I was struck by how wide the gap in understanding between city and country seemed to have grown.

Rooted is my attempt to tell the human side of farming.  As with my previous book, In Your Defence, it seeks to shine a light on some of the people in farming that those in the city rarely get to hear from.  Through their stories I hope to show the human cost of modern farming, as well as casting a light on a quiet revolution happening on farms all over the country alongside some of the biggest political changes to farming in two generations.  Around the farmers' stories I weave my own: how I moved to the countryside for a break from 'real life' and ended up finding it instead.

Picture: wild oats being hand rogued by seasonal workers on my grandparents' farm

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Rooted: Stories of Life, Law and a Farming Revoution will be published by Viking (Penguin Random House) on 7/7/2022.

I shall be doing book events over the summer. Please see my events page.

 

If you would like to invite me to your bookshop, bookgroup or festival to talk about Rooted please get in touch at smlangford@me.com or send me a direct message on Twitter or Instagram.

 

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