Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

It’s been an incredible year at Indie Farmer – the website went live in April, launched from my office / bedroom in Hackney. From coming up with idea for an online magazine about independent farmers and food culture in the spring of 2013, it took nearly a year to bring my vision to life. And since working on the project I have met and collaborated with hundreds of inspirational farmers, food producers and artisans and loved being able to share their stories via Indie Farmer.

Indie Farmer Christmas Card

Indie Farmer Road Trip

My greatest adventure yet – I spent an unforgettable 6 weeks travelling 2000 miles around the UK on my Vespa scooter visiting and photographing over 40 small farmers and producers I met on my trip. You can read some of the highlights via the blog and I am currently working on a 140 page print photo journal from the content which I will be self publishing early in 2015.

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Beginner Farmer Blog

Inspired by many of the farmers and small producers I met on my travels,  I decided to move back to the family farm in East Sussex and learn to farm myself. Spending less time in front of a screen and more time farming you can read about my adventures on the farm in a fortnightly beginner farmer blog update. You can read my first update HERE.

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Direct Meat Sales

It didn’t take me long to start thinking about ideas of how to make more of the cattle and lambs we rear and sell via the local livestock market in Hailsham. Attending a two day meat and butchery course at the Artisan School of Food I have since carried out a small pilot by taking two of our lambs to the local abattoir, using a local butcher and selling them to local people and businesses. Feedback has been really positive and I am looking forward to developing this side of the business  in 2015.

Here are some my favourite indie farming photos and stories of 2014

Visiting Organic Lea a community food project based in the Lea Valley, North London with Severine von Tscharner from Greenhorns, a US based organisation for the promotion of new farmers.

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Stephen Hook AKA the Moo-Man, a raw milk dairy farmer selling raw milk direct under the brand Hook & Sons from their small family run organic diary farm in Hailsham, East Sussex. Based a 5 minute drive from our family farm I went to interview Steve about his direct milk sales business and his viewpoint on the state of UK farming. Full pic story and interview HERE.

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Inside Steve’s traditional Herringbone Milk Parlour

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Visiting Hackney City Farm to do a picture story. Check it out HERE.

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Whilst in Egypt I visited Habiba Organic Farm in Nuweiba and spent a couple of day working and photographing the farm and interviewed a young Irish WWOOFer Tadhg. Full picture story HERE.

WWOOFING IN EGYPT

Back in London I  interviewed Paul Richins who is designer and head gardener at Wolff Olins roof top garden in Kings Cross. Full picture story and article HERE

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Visiting the team at Kings Cross Skip Garden. Full picture story and interview HERE

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Coinciding with the boat race I went along to the Oxford Cambridge Goat Race to cover the event and interviewed the event organiser – one of my favourite picture stories from the year. HERE.

Oxford & Cambridge Goat Race 2014

Paul and Chris from Barnes and Webb – spending the day with London’s Post Code Urban Beekeepers – I somehow managed to escape getting stung all day. Full picture story HERE.

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The Landworkers Alliance protesting outside of DEFRA in Westminster. Full picture story and interview HERE.

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Sadly I didn’t get to go to Colombia myself but freelance photographer and friend Maria Schiffer spent a week photographing and visiting small coffee growers back in May. The result is a brilliant collection of photos and an insightful article on small coffee growers in Colombia. Check out the story HERE

Colombian Coffee Farmers

Visiting Daylesford Organic Farm for their summer festival I  met Ed Hammer who runs Chagford CSA – you can read more about Ed and Chagford CSA in a story titled Could horsepower be the future of farming by Andrew Wasley HERE and check out my picture story HERE

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A young lamb at Daylesford Organic Farm.

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Visiting Google’s HQ just off Tottenham Court Road where I photographed some of the Google employees working with start up Connected Roots  to learn to grow their own veg on the roof top allotments. Full story HERE

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A rare breeds picture story at Lambeth Country Show. Full story HERE.

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First stop on my 6 week scooter road trip my first stop was Kent where I met Jack Boggia who runs Jacks Veg and Alister from Mallards Farm.

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Some of the Ahimsa slaughter free milk dairy cows at Commonwork Farm in Kent

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Visiting Wye Farmers Market

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Meeting Susan at Invicta Herbs

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Visiting Chegworth Valley

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Arriving in my home county of Sussex I went on the sparkling wine trail meeting farmer and wine grower Charles Palmer in Winchelsea.

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Visting Henners Vineyard in Herstmonceux

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Stopping off for a catch up with my Dad who was combining on the South Downs.

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The Sheep Centre  – a collection of over 50 breeds of sheep in East Dean on the South Downs.

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Visiting Hyden Originals, a traditional mixed livestock farm in Hampshire with Long Horns.

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A couple of calves clearly interested in my one man tent

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Visting Mapleleaf Dairy, a micro dairy enterprise in Hampshire.

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Visting Broughton Water Buffalo in Hampshire.

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Visiting Monkton Wyld Court and meeting Simon Fairlie and Gill Barron who run a small farm and edit the Land Magazine

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Camping at the market garden site at Chagford CSA.

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Meeting the dairy goats at Chagfarm CSA in Chagford, Dartmoor.

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Meeting some of the volunteer young farmers at Trill Farm Garden in Dorset.

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Visiting Stream Farm in Somerset

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Meeting Sam, the Chicken Farmer at Stream Farm.

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Meeting Fred, the Gothelney Farmer.

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Meeting the head milkman at Yeo Valley.

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Meeting some of the growers at The Community Farm.

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Milking time at the dairy next to artisan cheese makers Gorwydd Caerphilly.

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Visiting Durborough Farm, Somerset.

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Adam Henson Cotswold Farm Park

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Meeting Emma at her small farm in the Cotswolds, where she raises billy kids sourced from goat dairy farms and sells the meat direct.

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One rather pregnant sow at Kate Humble’s farm in South Wales.

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Lambs at Trealy Farm.

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Visiting Bannisters Farm in East Yorkshire.

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Cows and calves on the Pevensey Levels.

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Some of our nearly fat lambs.

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That’s all folks! Have a very Merry Christmas from Indie Farmer HQ in East Sussex. Stay tuned for lots of exciting news in 2015.