"In the age where climate breakdown is happening, we desperately need more people on the land and more people building soil."
I've just put together a short film after returning from an amazing weekend out in the wild. The Old Tree Apple Festival was staged in glorious, life-affirming natural farmland in the foothills of Wales, hanging out and working on a cider farm which is gearing up for its vision as a permaculture demonstration farm. It was an inspirational weekend and I hope I've captured some of the magic here..
Here is my film of weekend, as ever, all done as a very DIY-style Firecast on an iPhone and edited in an evening using iMovie. Some of the interviews had to be cut due to loud wind rustling, but I've pulled together the best footage remaining and hope you enjoy it.
I was unprepared for the sub zero temperatures at night - though almost everyone there seemed equipped with Arctic-style headgear and gloves. In a week where the UK weather seemed to skip a season and go from summer to winter, it was fantastic to be out in nature even though it was so cold at times and enjoying the bright moon, the cloudless starry skies and the glorious panoply of vivid autumn hues in the bright sunshine.
Held on Three Pools permaculture farm on the Welsh borders near Abergavenny, this mini-festival is a model of what festivals of the future should be - held on the last weekend of October, the gathering was spontaneous, participatory, self-sufficient, eco-friendly, small and compact and was all about great conversations, tasty apple juice and cider, mulled cider, vegan feasts, yoga, tai chi, music, fire and straw bale games in stone barns and meadow land, a Saturday night ceilidh rave and featured showers and compost loos with a view, cider and cider vinegar making demonstrations, carbon neutral teas and coffees all weekend, and celebrating being in glorious nature and countryside.
Looking for solutions? Locally-made alternatives to mass-produced drinks...
In the film (above), we hear co-founder of the Old Tree Brewery Tom Daniell talking about his vision for establishing a brewery that is leading the way in terms of regenerating the land and healing the earth through encouraging communities to ferment and forage from local resources , Emily Rose talks about her fermentation workshops and we eavesdrop on the architect behind the ceilidh raves, Harry Abel.
As Tom says, "the solutions remain embarrassingly simple - just observe what nature is doing rather than remove it and force something else".
My photo gallery from the weekend: