An important new book: Unlikely Heroes by Walter Lewis

When I first picked up my copy of Walter Lewis’s book “Unlikely Heroes” I got the impression of a coffee table book of photos, albeit a particularly beautiful and interesting one.

But I was wrong, it is far more than that. Yes, the photographs are incredible and insightful. Vainly I leafed through to find my portrait on page 147, and thought to myself, “Joanne, you look in a state”. But on reflection, I realised that he had captured an often hidden a side of The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm perfectly. While our farm is (in my humble opinion) a beautiful and amazing place, it can also be the harshest environment and most difficult job  have ever done. I can look and feel in a right state: Walter captured this in his photo of me, and it made me think – he has captured the heart of the issues we face.

Curiosity and ego aside, I looked through the book more closely and found real portraits of a network of new farms across the UK trying to do something similar to us. This is the tour I have often wanted to make, but never been able to do due to lack of time and money. Some of the people I know, many I don’t: the book is the most immediate and intimate portrait of the reality of these “Unlikely Heroes” that I can imagine.


Picture Credit: Walter Lewis

It is hard to look away from the captivating photos to read the text, but it is well worth making the effort. No less distinguished an author than Colin Tudge (one of my personal heroes himself!) wrote the forward, and Stephen Devlin’s essay of introduction cuts to the core of the issues we all face.

“Unlikely Heroes” is a book to keep and treasure, to read over a hot drink at the end of a day on the farm, or really for anyone interested in the reality of our modern food system and wider issues such as wildlife and climate change. Isn’t that pretty much everyone?

To find out more and buy your copy please visit the Feeding Body and Soul website.

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