It is folly to think Britain can turn away from producing its own food - by Charles Moore - 11.02.22
‘BringItBack’ – the return of political, economic and strategic power to these shores - remains our core campaign mission and underpins many of the topics we cover. One area often overlooked in this debate is food production as Charles Moore found out when he visited Dyson Farms up in Lincolnshire:
‘Farming is a form of manufacturing,” says Sir James Dyson, “I want to make things.” The famous inventor has said it often, actually, but as we talk, I can look out of his window and literally see what he means.
I am his guest in an austere modern office at the heart of Dyson Farms, in Carrington, Lincolnshire. In the same complex, producing a cow-like smell, is one of his two enormous anaerobic digesters (ADs), which provide much of the energy for his operation. They generate the equivalent of the electricity used by 10,000 homes. Anything not used on the farms is sold into the national grid. The “digestate” (waste) from the ADs then makes good fertiliser. The buzz phrase is “circular farming”.
In all, Dyson Farms have bought 36,000 English acres. In their 29,000 acres of Lincolnshire, it is all arable, mainly wheat, barley, peas and the strawberries. It has cost £400 million to buy the land and £120 million so far on improvements.
There is literally no one else in Britain who could operate on this scale, but this does not mean Dyson’s example is a rich man’s folly, irrelevant to real farming. Just as Jeremy Clarkson has done farmers a favour by showing the public the problems they face, so Sir James is giving them hope, by showing that the production of British food can have a bright technological future.”
Whilst vocal conservation groups such as the RSPB and the National Trust lobby for re-wilding
“it is a strange idea that food production is not a public good. Civilisation came into being only when food production had achieved reasonable sophistication and security. It would collapse if these were seriously undermined. Food (and water) are really the first of all public goods, the sine qua non.
If land is well suited to food production, it is moral to employ it for that purpose. It might even, in some circumstances, be immoral not to do so. Why is it good to harness the natural power of wind and sun to produce energy, but frowned on to harvest the natural fruits of our fertile little bit of the earth?”
By harnessing the latest technologies in an environmentally sustainable way Dyson is looking to increase food production here rather than being over-reliant on imported food from abroad:
“To do this successfully requires husbandry. In modern times, this in turn requires science and technology. Using drones and computer mapping, marsh harrier nests in the Dyson fields can be identified and skirted round. One of the best means of attacking crop pests on the Dyson estates is to spray them with tiny mites that kill them rather than with chemicals.”
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:
As an addendum to the above, we enclose Abigail Buchanan's in-depth report on the Dyson Farms, from her article for the Telegraph in October 2021.