From Lisa Wright
Last week I saw the dust clouds from the combine harvester on the fields of Blackwell Farm and dashed out with my camera to witness a sight that has been replicated on this field for hundreds of years. Whether by hand, horse or machine, this golden field of corn has been harvested every summer for centuries to provide food for the nation.
According to a report by Cambridge University*, the UK faces a potential shortfall of two million hectares of land for food by 2030.
The report states that new residential and commercial developments, transport infrastructure, and recreational space are making the UK more dependent on imports and worsening our existing food, feed and drink trade deficit of £18.6 billion.
One acre of wheat will only produce enough flour for approximately 3,500 loaves of bread. Enough for around a 100 people a year. Many more acres are needed for oils, vegetables, fruit, cows, sheep, pigs and poultry. With Guildford’s population already over 150,000 we really do need to protect our pasture and arable land.
This field also provides the environment for many other species of bird, mammal and plant and the oxygen we need to breathe.
I do hope our fears about this land being developed are not realised and we see more harvests in these same fields in years to come.
The pictures were taken from the permissive horse ride along the railway line, just about the point in which the University of Surrey wishes to build a railway station in its “West Guildford Garden Neighbourhood”.
*The Best Use of UK Agricultural Land, Andrew Montague-Fuller, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)].