Poems celebrate ‘Pasture for Life’ farming

Adam Horovitz launched his new collection of poems at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, in Oxford Town Hall on 4 January 2018 – where a copy was presented to the Environment Secretary the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP.

The poems were written after staying and living with four certified Pasture for Life livestock farmers over four seasons.

‘The Soil Never Sleeps’ sprang from a commission from the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association. It asked Mr. Horovitz to be its poet in residence in 2016, inviting him to travel to four of its members’ farms. The farmers who hosted him were Neil Heseltine in North Yorkshire, Fidelity Weston in Kent, Chris Jones in Cornwall and Nick Miller in Monmouthshire. Throughout the book, all the farmers’ voices are heard within the poems.

“What makes these farms different is their decision not to conform to the post-World War Two chemical-driven farming consensus that has seen soil and food stripped of nutrients, and animal welfare suffer in the name of remorseless productivity,” writes Mr. Horovitz in the introduction.

“Their commitment is to raise ruminant animals wholly on pasture, under the PFLA’s banner of ‘Pasture for Life’, with the attendant benefits to the animals, the environment and to humanity, that a holistic, nurturing approach to farming allows.”

The fifty-three poems are open and honest and explore the many highs and lows of livestock farming from birth to death. They follow Mr. Horovitz on long walks across the Yorkshire Dales, hanging on to the side of a quad bike on maggot patrol looking for worm-affected lambs, to visits from school children and to tasting raw milk from a freshly milked cow. The closing section reflects on the ethics and politics of farming today.

‘The Soil Never Sleeps’, which takes its title from one of the poems, is illustrated with original line drawings by artist Jo Sanders. It is available to buy from publishers Palewell Press UK online at palewellpress.co.uk or from booksellers priced £9.99.

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