paul bradbury is writing pioneer parables - two down so far. i really love this latest one the farm which he explains over on his blog and it's inspired by the book wilding by isabella tree.
There was once a farmer who managed a large arable farm on behalf of the owner. The farm was losing money and its future was uncertain.
The farmer invested in the best machinery and used the best fertilisers. The farm was amalgamated with neighbouring farms to reduce costs. The farmer did all these things and worked day and night every day of the year. But the farm continued to lose money.
Then one day the farmer said ‘I know what I will do – I will stop growing crops and I will listen to the land. The land is dying and everything with it. We will work with the land and with the God of creation and see what happens’. And she let the land breathe and allowed herself some rest.
Then the farmer called a meeting to communicate her plans. She sold all the machinery and laid off all the staff. The staff were angry and said the plan was crazy. Other local farmers heard about the plan and shook their heads. Word reached the landlord about the plan and he wrote an angry letter saying ‘The farm needs to pay its way!’ and that the farmer wouldn’t have his support if she carried on in this way.
Then the farmer said ‘I know what I will do – I will introduce ancient breeds of cattle, horse and pig to graze the grass, and to trim the trees and to till the soil.’ These breeds had been largely forgotten but some in the farming community still knew about them. They managed the land naturally and fertilised its soil and new life began to return in amazing and surprising ways.
So the land continued to heal. The trees began recovering. Insects returned; butterflies, moths, beetles, bees. Birds began to nest and thrive. The call of the turtle dove was heard once again.
And then the farmer welcomed people onto the land. They walked its paths and sat under its trees, they listened to the bird song and witnessed clouds of butterflies.
And many of them went home and became like the farmer. They listened to their land and worked with the God of creation. And watched to see what the future brought.