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50 or 60 years ago the market for organic food (as now defined) was vanishingly small, less than 0.1 per cent of the market in European countries, according to one estimate.(1) Organic farming at that time was derided by most farmers in the UK as a matter of ‘muck [i.e.farmyard manure] and mystery’.
Grootplaas, a produce farm that specialises in citrus and numbers around 900 hectares in size, is the subject of Maxim Bolt’s latest monograph, Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: The Roots of Impermanence.
How fortunate are historians of that broad band of southern Somerset covered by seven topographical volumes of the Victoria County History (VCH) compared with those of most of the historic county for whom no such resource yet exists. It is the distant ideal of the complete set for Somerset that is most urgently required.
To scholars of early modern Europe, Earls Colne in Essex must be one of England’s best known parishes, thanks to the work undertaken in the 1960s and 1970s by the historian and anthropologist Alan Macfarlane, and following his work, the availability, firstly on microfiche and latterly online, of transcriptions of a large corpus of contemporary sources about the parish which has prompted signifi
People must eat, even during wartime, preferably three times a day, civilians and soldiers, and of course children.
It is a prerequisite that prosperous, expanding towns need to maintain a secure and ample food supply. How towns managed this issue, drawing foodstuffs from both their immediate hinterland and from further afield, and the resultant effect upon agricultural productivity are examined in this collection of 11 papers.
When comparing European agriculture in the early 1960s with that existing before the First World War, two principal differences are evident. Firstly, the productivity of agriculture in the 1960s was considerably higher, principally as the consequence of the intensive use of modern technologies such as modern machinery, fertilisers, pesticides or hybrid seeds.
This collection of essays forms an excellent Festschrift for Professor John Hatcher, whose eclectic range of research is displayed by the volume’s division into three parts: the first explores the medieval demographic system; the second charts the changing relationship between lords and peasants; and the third highlights the fortunes of trade and industry after the Black Death.
Professor Dyer’s A Country Merchant represents the development of several emerging themes in late medieval and early modern history: for one, the increasing recognition of the long 15th century, and especially the period roughly framed by the reign of Henry VII, as an important ‘Age of Transition’, most eloquently highlighted in his own book of that title.(1)
The 1870s and 1880s were formative decades in the development of Irish nationalist identity. The land and national movements mobilized the countryside on a scale not seen since the days of Daniel O’Connell. Despite a significant corpus of work being produced between the 1970s and mid 1990s, scholarship on this significant period in modern Irish history has become stagnant in recent years.