Liz Wright, Editor of The Country Smallholder, bids you a warm welcome!

I’m thrilled to be editing The Country Smallholder and to get to know you all much better. Reading the entries on Facebook I find such lively views and enthusiasms that I look forward to exploring everything smallholding with you all. I’ve had a smallholding for many years and seen changes of course, and I’ve been active in all sorts of smallholding initiatives. I’m so often asked “what is a smallholder?” and I can share with you that the editor of The Smallholder back in 1912 found it every bit as difficult to define as we do today. In fact he was moved to tell his readers that if you lived in a town and had a window box and a couple of chickens, “you were well on your way to being a smallholder”. Essentially it has been thought of as a few acres in the country but now we see large gardens being very productive in the suburbs and community farms with ‘proper’ farm animals in the cities. It seems to me the lines are blurring. I aim to embrace smallholding in its very largest sense and give inspiration to everyone who is taking control of some of their life by producing food, crafts and satisfaction for themselves.

A bit about me
I have a three acre smallholding in the Cambridgeshire Fens, a very special area where l have lived for over 35 years and prior to that, North Buckinghamshire, though l was born in London. My mother was a marker gardener during the war, in a nursery that specialised in tomatoes and cut flowers. lsleworth was once very close to the market gardens of London, roughly where Heathrow is now. As a child I produced projects and stories on the countryside much to the surprise of teachers and family and l was always obsessed with farming. I just haven’t changed really. On my smallholding I have chickens, ducks and guinea fowl and my partner and I are both keen on growing vegetables. We did have sheep, goats, cows and pigs in the past but now my Exmoor and Welsh ponies, retired racehorse and pair of donkeys graze at home and in the village, for which we make our own hay on other land. My partner is very keen on vintage tractors which do a lot of work on our land, both rented and owned, plus he adores old land rovers. I’m not naturally good at crafts but I do try, and whilst I seem to have two left hands, I am good at making wreaths and felting. I think there is no coincidence that both of these involve quite strong handling as I don’t seem to have a delicate touch. I worry about avian flu and its effect on both domestic and wild birds, so you ‘ll see frequent updates about that in upcoming issues. I’m also a bit of a weather freak; being outside a lot makes you very aware of weather changes and wonder about the effect it’ll have on your smallholding. It also gives you an admiration of the resilience of nature.

There’s lot of opportunities to get in touch with me by email and through Facebook. I’ll be reading everything you send and love to share your experiences and hear your views.

I’m sure we are going to be good friends!

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