Reconnecting with the land

Last Tuesday I was privileged to meet an amazing group of people on our Organic Blooms running a land based social enterprise course.

For many of us, our everyday lives are fairly detached from the earth, from nature. Our day-to-day environment is formed by offices, roads, the interiors of our cars, supermarkets, the rooms of our homes. Once a majority of people worked in farming and food production; now relatively few of us follow land-based careers.

But there are an encouraging number of people who are responding to their inherent need to reconnect with the land and, in doing so, to sacrifice corporate salaries to do what they love and to support the wellbeing of others. One of our organic heroes, Guy Watson of Riverford, left the family farm in his youth to pursue a management consultancy career in the big smoke. But, unfulfilled, he followed his instincts and returned to farming, becoming not only a highly respected organic pioneer but a considerate and supportive employer as well.

The people on our course this week are all experts in their diverse fields: the charitable care sector; photography; high-end garden design; environmental conservation; flower essence medicine and advertising. Each has a successful – enviable – career. But each has reached a point where they want to use their skills and expertise in a different, more focused way to benefit others. They still need to make a living, but for that living to be healthier and more meaningful. Some came to our course with a clear vision but needed help working through the practicalities of making it happen. Others came seeking inspiration and a sounding board to help define their ideas.

The course was not about organic growing, but interestingly it was a subject we found ourselves returning to repeatedly through the day as though there was an unspoken assumption, for many of our participants, that organic principles would be a given in their future ventures. And I hope that some of them do pursue those ventures – if more people reconnect with the land and achieve a better balance between income and wellbeing, the world can only become better for it.