Helen Rebanks, author of the Sunday Times-bestselling The Farmer's Wife: My Life in Days.

Get your tickets for the third annual Farm & Food Lit Fest, with a dazzling line-up of authors who share stories from wonderful world of regenerative food and farming and explore the deep connections food and farming has with the natural world. 

The festival takes place on Saturday 11 May 2024 at FarmED’s education centre in Shipton-under-Wychwood near Chipping Norton, which includes state-of-the art facilities and a diverse 107 acre mixed farm, co-curated with Chelsea Green Publishing.

Farm Ed last year

This unique literary festival is the first of its kind to shine a light on the diversity of books that are being published in this space, encouraging a deeper and more nuanced discussion about the future of our food and farming systems. 

Here are our top picks of his year’s speakers:

  • Helen Rebanks, (see main pic) author of the Sunday Times-bestselling The Farmer’s Wife: My Life in Days. Helen and James Rebanks run a tight-knit team that has made their farm globally important with their farming innovations, advising internationally and hosting events regularly at the farm to share their expertise and encourage others to farm sustainably. Helen will share a look into life at their Lake District farmhouse as well as a heartfelt and honest delve into the truth about the grind and the glory of keeping a home and raising a family today.
  • Britain’s favourite farmer-turned-rewilder Derek Gow READ OUR INTERVIEW WITH HIM HERE uncovers the mythology, mystery and history of wolves in Britain in his new book Hunt for the Shadow Wolf, asking why in the past we have turned the wolf into a savage beast and painted its extermination as a ‘civilising mission.’ Now, as we look to heal our landscape, Derek makes clear why we must reconcile our relationship with the wolf and fully understand our shared history so we can one day bring it back to these lands.
Derek Gow credit www.chrisrobbins.co.uk

Millions of animal hides are incinerated every year as a by-product of the meat industry, yet leather is also seen as a luxury product within the high-end fashion world. As a fashion designer, Alice Robinson could not find the provenance for the leather she was using, so she took matters into her own hands and bought a bullock from her local farm in Shropshire, creating an entire fashion collection from one animal. The result was stunning, and her collection went on to be shown at the V&A Museum. Throughout her book Field, Fork, Fashion Alice shows why farmers working with nature can be linked directly with a sustainable and ethical leather supply chain, and why we need to re-think where and how our clothes are made.

Alice Robinson credit Jason Lowe

Jane Cooper, author of The Lost Flock, shares the remarkable story of a rare, little horned sheep, known as Orkney Boreray, and why she moved to one of Scotland’s wildest islands to save them. When Jane took the bold step to uproot her quiet suburban life in Newcastle in her mid 50’s, she was embarking on a new life as a farmer and shepherd. Astonished to find that she was the sole custodian of this lost flock in the world, she began investigating their mysterious and ancient history, tracking down the origins of the Boreray breed and its significance to Scotland’s natural heritage.

Jane Cooper_credit_Cara Cooper

Mike Bartlett: And don’t miss an extra add-on! Mike Bartlett’s new play, coming to Chipping Norton Theatre from 17-20 June, follows the imagined story of an Oxfordshire barn and its surrounding community between the 1930s and the present. In conversation with Director John Terry on June 17, Mike will discuss creating character and writing dialogue in ways that capture the idiosyncrasies of rural communities, and how the play draws on his own personal roots and his home in a small Oxfordshire village. Mike is one of the country’s most acclaimed screenwriters and playwrights, with TV credits including Life, Doctor Foster and Press, and theatre productions such as The 47th at London’s Old Vic, King Charles III in the West End and Earthquakes in London at The National Theatre.

Mike Bartlett

Fiona Mountain, Farm & Food Lit Fest, Director, says: “We are very much looking forward to the third Farm & Food Literature Festival. Discussions around regenerative agriculture, sustainable food and the environment are becoming increasingly vital and there’s no better stimulus than books and stories to get the conversation going and spark ideas, and offer inspiration and hope. We have a wonderful line-up of speakers and we can’t wait to welcome you all to FarmED.”

To find the full speaker list and book your tickets click here. The ticket includes lunch at the wonderful Farm Ed cafe.

If cost is a barrier to you attending, then do ask for financial support. The FarmED Bursary offers free or subsidised places to those that will benefit most.