Sarah Langford was a barrister, living and working in the city. But then she found herself moving to the countryside, back to an agricultural life she thought she had left behind. There she saw farmers dealing with problems very different from those faced by her grandfather, who had helped to feed a starving nation after the war. Beleaguered with the challenges of climate change, Brexit and falling incomes, these farmers faced accusations of ecological mismanagement from a hostile media and public. But, as Langford looked to them to teach her about the land, she also found a new generation of farmers on a path of regenerative change.
In October 2022 Langford came to Intelligence Squared to talk about the themes of her new book Rooted: Stories of Life, Land and a Farming Revolution. In conversation with the chef and food writer Thomasina Miers she described how she learned what being a farmer means, shining a light on the human side of modern farming, and showing us how land connects us all, not only in terms of global sustainability but in our relationships with our physical and mental health, our communities, our planet and ourselves.
As arguments about our food and where it comes from reach a crescendo, Langford explained how we can heal our relationship with the land and gain a hopeful sense of a regenerative future.