The UK has been slow to embrace agroforestry, fearing trees compete for valuable space and water. In fact they can increase crop diversity as well as profits, as two pioneering Cambridgeshire farmers have found
“Most people round here think it’s pretty normal for the earth to just blow away,” says Lynn Briggs. “They seem to think it’s what happens and you just have to live with it. It’s even got a name – they call it fen blow.”
But when Lynn and her husband Stephen moved on to their Cambridgeshire farm in 2012 they had some radical farming notions. Against all precedent, the Briggs planted rows of fruit trees at 21-metre gaps in their cereal fields to provide both windbreaks and alternate crops. “Our neighbours thought we were absolutely crazy,” says Stephen. His soil, however, began to stay put.