Tuesday, 20 September 2011
All hands to the plough
I have just returned from a brilliant holiday in Romania, visiting cultural sites. The mediaeval painted churches are particularly dazzling. But we drove through the countryside I was also struck by the amount of subsistence farming. There were strip field systems that looked as mediaeval as the churches, and people working them with horse-drawn ploughs. One or two cows would be tethered by the roadside and presumably they were milked by hand. My companions on the trip were very taken by the idea of the organic produce on offer at the roadside stalls. It's true that the plums, apples and watermelons were delicious, and it was heartening to see families working together in the fields. But I couldn't help wondering whether such a labour-intensive approach can continue now that Romania is part of the European community. Not many people in the UK would want to work so hard to produce food.