It has always been held that England’s vulnerability lay in her dependence upon imported food supplies during times of trouble. As Sir Albert Howard, former Director of the Institute of Plant Industry, and Agricultural Adviser to the States in Central India, told George Godwin, “England could grow enough food to feed the entire population”. But, only a small percentage of what ought to be grown was and is grown.
Napoleon said, “An army marches upon its belly”. Today it seems we are all increasingly aware of this.
When growing crops, it is important to ensure the soil is in ‘good heart’. In other words, the dirt needs to have a high degree of fertility - be a living organism.
The drive in 1939, and now if you read between the lines of the Agriculture Bill, is that farms should become self-supporting agricultural units. Able to supply manures and feeding stuffs by having in proportion, livestock, arable land, grassland, and horticulture, with the soil being the all-important focal point.
It is said that the old methods are the best and when it comes to the basics of agriculture it is surely true. We have of course gained much through technology, mechanisation, plant culture, agronomy and science. However, as Virgil said, “what is lent by the land to man must be returned to it by him.”
In Roman times the management of the manure heap had already reached an advanced stage. Soil fertility is ultimately the foundation of quality and disease resistance in crops, in the animals which consume them and in the human beings which feed on both.
Sir Albert Howard said, “The public health system should be based on soil fertility. Once this is realised by the urban population, agriculture will be regarded as the most important of our industries: the land and those who cultivate it will then come into their own”. I wonder!
For those who are abiding by the rules to stay at home, as set out clearly by the Prime Minister, and plenty are not, which is why we are witnessing a surge in the daily death toll, virtual communities have been set up which enable people to get to know one another better than they ever did before.
Some may maintain this virtual world even when things return to normal. They will meet, trade and interact in bodies and worlds of their choosing. Much as those already accustomed to online dating, in the future traders and couples, may despite ‘interesting’ exchanges, never actually meet face to face!
Everyday life has changed and there is a sense of fragility everywhere. It is interesting to see where humans have withdrawn, there are already wild animals moving in. Wild boar roam towns in northern Italy, gangs of monkeys are fighting on the streets of Thailand and deer on the streets of Romford.
Some important advice from an experienced Doctor for those recovering from Corvid 19: ‘However mild your symptoms, the most dangerous time is when you start to feel better. If you exercise too much too soon, the virus will attack your airwaves again with potentially long term damage.
Food balance is vitally important, and Vitamin D is absolutely essential. We need lots of iron - red meat and spinach are perfect. Besides the obvious fruit and vegetables, scrambled eggs and cheese on toast. Pace your recovery and do not get over-optimistic, after all there is really nothing to rush back for’.
Keep safe and well, stay at home and enjoy your virtual Easter Egg Hunt – Happy Easter.