Helen Browning, Soil Association Chief Executive and author of “Pig”, in Ledbury on 15th April

On Monday April 15th at 7.30, Burgage Hall, you can hear Helen Browning and her partner Tim Finney, previously editor of BBC Radio 4’s Farming and Environment programme, talking about their book “Pig”.

It’s an extraordinary account of 6 months “up close and personal” with a group of sows and their piglets. It’s delightful to get an inside view of these mischievous, competitive, intelligent characters. As you delve into the story, you discover that Eastbrook Farm has not only pigs, but arable land and a dairy herd. Farming organically is formidable task, not for the feint-hearted. The hard graft involved in good husbandry is relentless, and keeping up with ever changing situation in weather (the Beast from the East last March was a particular challenge), politics, and farm economics is an ongoing struggle. Hats off to Helen, Tim and their team in their dedication to sustaining and diversifying this business, against the odds at times.

The book is not just about Pigs. This is only a part of Helen’s life. She is off to London and elsewhere in her official Soil Association role. You read about so many controversial ecological issues as Helen heads off to Farming Conferences, Student Union debates (To Meat or Not to Meat), meeting Defra officials and government Ministers. She even meets Michael Gove, the Environment Minister, down on the farm! This woman has influence in high places, earned through a lifetime of commitment to the quality of our Soil and sustainability of farming practices. Soil, and the worms in it, is vital in storing carbon. Yet much of our soil is degraded and devoid of worms!

Even if you have not read the book, do go along to what will be a fascinating and thought provoking talk. You will find that Helen demonstrates why the welfare of our farm animals – and the way we manage our countryside – is central in current discussions around food, climate change and the environment.

Tickets £5 from Ledbury Library in the Master’s House, St Katherine’s.

Note the opening times for tickets are:

Monday: 9.30am to 4.30pm
Tuesday: 9.30am to 6.00pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 9.30am to 4.30pm
Friday: 9.30am to 4.30pm
Saturday: 9.30am to 12.30pm
Sunday: Closed

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