Patrick’s Praxis

Patrick Holden is a man of two lives.

In one life, he is the Director of the Soil Association, an organization that functions as both the UK’s premier organic certifying agency, as well as a ‘charity'(as non-profits are called in England) that lobbies for, and educates about, the benefits of healthy soil. In this life he is a public persona- appearing regularly on the BBC and working directly with the Prince. He lives in the city. He wears a suit.

In the other life, Patrick is a farmer. He raises dairy cows for milk and he just built a new cheese making facility. He grows the largest carrots you’ve ever seen in your life. He lives in an ancient farm house. He has four small boys. He prefers work boots and a vest.

By walking between these two lives, Patrick Holden has created praxis, meaning that he practices, embodies, and actualizes the concepts that he speaks about in his public work. When we filmed Patrick on his farm both sides of him were present. His ease with public speaking and his comfortability with complex subjects came through beautifully. But when it came down to it, what supported the whole shoot and every thing he said, was the underlying confidence Patrick has when he puts his hands into his soil and pulls up his bunch of carrots- the confidence of praxis, the knowing that he is truly grounded in his work.

Director Deborah and Farmer Patrick on Pasture
– By Jessy Beckett

Blaencamel Soils

For those of you who haven’t visited Wales- we must tell you, it is, on film, a dream world. The moisture in the air catches light at every angle, softening every shot. Around each hedgerow and country road there is another glistening green vista.

Blaencamel, the farm of the Anne Evans and Peter Segger, is no exception. The root of the name Blaencamel- ‘blaen’ means a quick, clever mind capable of grasping and assimilating new ideas aptly suits the place. The Seggers are clearly innovators. They have rehabilitated what, by Peter’s accounts, must be “some of the poorest soils in the British isles” into deep dark organic matter- soils that grow carrots and leeks that dwarfed any I’ve witnessed here in California. 

Peter and a monstrous turnip

The entire two day shoot in Wales, part of larger UK tour lingers as one of the most memorable locations. Partly due to the candid nature of two deep souls deeply committed to the stewardship of their place, partly due to the glittering dew drops on every blade of healthy grass, but mostly due to the richness of their soil.

Gargantuan leeks in dark soil
– By Jessy Beckett