I've often described the Devon village I live in as a town full of artists...but it's also well known here in the West Country for its strong and lively "green" community, supporting organic farming, permaculture, the slow food/local food movements, recycling, composting, eco-building, and other sustainability issues.
A few weeks ago, the Guardian newspaper ran an article on "Chagfood," the Chagford Community Agriculture project run by young local farmers (inspired by the Levellers and the Diggers), with the help of Samson, a four-year old Welsh cob/Dartmoor pony cross.
"Chagford is about as lovely a village as you could ever hope to find," writes journalist Carole Cadwalladr. "It's almost absurdly picturesque with its ancient stone buildings and village green bounded by fields and streams and the wild, dark hills of Dartmoor looming overhead. It's hard to imagine how it could be any lovelier. And then Samson comes clip-clopping down the road pulling a cart loaded with freshly picked organic produce. Honestly. It's so ridiculously bucolic that I expect Miss Marple to come flying around the corner on a bicycle."
Later in the article she notes: "My suspicion was that Samson's real purpose was to give the project a rural cute factor, but this was before I met Ed [Hames] and realised that this isn't some whimsical hobby, it's part of a greater philosophical framework. He's a boyish 29 years old, and might not look like much of a revolutionary, hanging out, growing cabbage and onions in a field in Devon, but he's a proper ideologue. On the one hand, Chagfood is about providing local, sustainable, seasonable produce, but it's also part of his wider mission: extending land rights for all."
Read the whole article (here) for an interesting glimpse at another side of our village. Related links: the Chagfood website & blog, The Land Magazine, and the Reclaim the Fields organization. And if you're anywhere near Chagford, go visit Chagfoood and say hello to Sampson. He is awfully cute, and I always love seeing him heading up to town with his cart full of flowers and veggies....