Greenstead Farm: A Tradition of Conservation
You only have to spend a few minutes talking to owner Chris Butler about the farm before his passion for the area and the conservation of it, and his enthusiasm to protect the local environment, becomes abundantly clear and highly infectious.
In fact evidence of Chris’s passion for protecting the countryside begins at home and you can see from his latest project, the installation of a new biomass generator located in the barn opposite the main building, that he is keen to set a precedent from which visitors and future family generations will learn, embrace and evolve with new technology.
The generator once fully installed, will serve the whole farm site including the farmhouse and all its buildings and businesses located on site with heating, hot water and electricity all year round. The generator is fuelled by the tradition of coppicing the farm’s hedgerows (a traditional method of woodland management which sees the hedgerows being cut right back to near ground level to allow new growth) – something which has happened on the farm for generations
Chris is also the Chairman for the Essex branch of the Campaign to Protection Rural England (CPRE) and campaigns strongly against the installation of solar farms, even on land that is less productive, citing that the benefits of renewable energy that solar farms bring, do not outweigh the environmental harm or the loss of productive land; 1 acre of ‘Grade 3’ land will still produce approx. 5,000 loaves of bread per year - a figure that could prove ever more significant when we consider that the UK only produces 60% of its own food at present (and even less if we lose more land to solar farms).
The farm, through Chris’s relentless enthusiasm, is sending out a clear message within the local community. The family cares (and will continue to care) about the village, their neighbours and the local environment and will do all they can to preserve it for the generations to come.
To find out more about the work of the CPRE please visit their website
image courtesy of www.essexwalks.com