The regenerative farm working to improve soil without fertilizers

Lettuces are sprouting, the wildflowers are in bloom and a buzzard is circling above the meadow on a sunny spring day at Huxhams Cross Farm near the village of Dartington in Devon. From the top of a hill, Marina O’Connell can survey most of the 15 hectares (37 acres) she has dedicated the past six years to transforming.

When she took over running the farm in 2015, she recalls, the farm contractor called this a “miserable bit of land”. Now the fields and hedgerows buzz with wildlife, and young farm workers chat as they sow carrot seeds and plant out early spinach. Further downhill, chickens peck about near polytunnels full of vegetables and soft fruit.

This idyllic spot has been completely redesigned, and indeed reborn, since it was bought by the charitable community benefit society the Biodynamic Land Trust, with the goal of creating a sustainable and “regenerative” agricultural system.