Jackie and Alan Gear were young, intelligent, energetic and idealistic just what Lawrence Hills needed to help steer the fledgling HDRA in the required direction. Turning their backs on their chosen careers, moving away from their families and working for a mere pittance they could not have known how enriched their lives would become. Enrichment of the spirit not the bank account ! The first few years were difficult, combining the running of the organisation with research and trials at their HQ in Bocking. But through hard work and clever marketing and management they eventually could afford to move to a larger ground and so Ryton Gardens was born.
Up until recently the land was awash with chemicals, with farmers and food producers being actively encouraged by the government to spray with reckless abandon. Increase the yield at all costs even though food quality suffered and the soil disintegrated. Looked upon as hippies the organic movement was shunned by the majority, after all it's easier to spray !! The HDRA championed the cause of the organic grower, running schemes to convert more people to a more environmentaly friendly way of using the soil. Now the largest organic gardening organisation in Europe, the HDRA has created the vegetable gene bank, the heritage vegetable seed library and also started national potato day to name but a few.
Although the message in this book is clearly a serious one it's told in a warm friendly manner and a liberal application of good humoured anecdotes will have you smiling along the way. For any grower of food from allotmenteer to commercial enterprise this book is a must read. Highly recommended.
When I received this book I noticed a fault in the binding process and the absence of about thirty pages of text. I contacted Amazon and informed them of the problem, their reply was almost immediate and within three days I had a replacement in my hands. A sterling piece of customer service, keep up the good work Amazon people !!