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Six Inches of Soil


Edited by Molly Foster, Priya Kalia, Jeremy Toynbee

Foreword by Sarah Langford

With contributions from: Mike Berners-Lee, Matt Chatfield, Henry Dimbleby, Adrienne Gordon, Vicki Hird, Anna Jackson, Andrew Jackson, Hannah Jones, Satish Kumar, Tim Lang, Claire Mackenzie, Nicole Masters, Josiah Meldrum, Lucy Michaels, Emma Mills, James Murray-White, Marina O’Connell , John Pawsey, Tom Pearson, Colin Ramsay, Nic Renison, Lizzie Sagoo, Ben Thomas, Ian Wilkinson & Dee Woods



Six Inches of Soil the film and this companion book is the inspiring story of British farmers standing up to the industrial food system and transforming the way they produce food – to heal the soil, benefit our health and provide for local communities.

How has it come to this point in our history that we hardly value the food we eat and the soil that it’s grown in? How is it that we care so little how food production impacts animals and the environment?

Industrial farming has transformed Britain’s rural landscapes, increasing crop yields and reducing hunger. Yet this has all come at a terrible ecological cost. It is ‘both a miracle and a disaster’.

Six Inches of Soil is a story of courage, vision and hope. This book is not just for farmers. Reconnecting with our food, and regenerating our soils, ourselves and our communities benefits everyone and needs everyone to be involved. We want to inspire farmers with the confidence and practical know-how to adopt regenerative farming approaches. We want to give consumers the impetus and information to rethink their food choices.

This book and the film are closely related but stand on their own. In these pages you will find detailed chapters on each of the three farmers that provide replicable case studies and inspiration. Additionally, there are chapters examining the problems with the current agri-food system and proposing solutions and a vision for the future. Recognised experts: explain agroecological farming systems and soil science; consider the issues of land use, greenwashing, subsidies, food security; and provide examples of agroforestry applications, and farm enterprise stacking and diversification.

Their three stories are inspiring, guiding and frustrating. Allow yourself to be inspired, to be guided and to turn your frustration in to action.

Half of the profits from book sales will go to the community interest company driving the follow up impact campaign.

Table of Contents


CHAPTER 1 It’s a miracle, but that miracle has created a disaster
CHAPTER 2 Regenerative farming, what is it?
INTERLUDE I Are we using our farmed land wisely?
CHAPTER 3 The science of soil
INTERLUDE II Regulation, greenwashing and co-option
CHAPTER 4 Regenerative mixed farm: Pig Pink Farm, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire
INTERLUDE III Subsidies, Brexit and trade
CHAPTER 5 Organic market garden: Sweetpea, Caxton, Cambridgeshire
INTERLUDE IV Food security and UK self-sufficiency
CHAPTER 6 Pasture-fed beef: Treveddoe, Bodmin, Cornwall
INTERLUDE V Applying agroforestry in mixed regenerative farming
CHAPTER 7 Soil as soul
INTERLUDE VI Enterprise stacking
CHAPTER 8 How do we build a sustainable future for food and farming?

Epilogue – Act now

Appendix I: Partners in change
Appendix II: Advising farmer profiles
Further reading

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Additional information

ISBN 9781917159005
Page extent 360
Product type PB
Publication date 26-Apr-24
Dimensions 156 × 234 mm

5 reviews for Six Inches of Soil

  1. 5.00 out of 5
    5 Reviews

    Ben Taylor-Davies/RegenBen

    A fantastic assembly of the trials, tribulations, successes and failures of all those connected to the land that are looking at replacing death with life in the food production system.

  2. 5.00 out of 5
    5 Reviews

    Joe Stanely, Head of Sustainable Farming, The Allerton Project & author of Farm to Fork : The Challenge of Sustainable Farming in 21st Century Britain

    To feed a growing global population, we will need to produce more food than ever before – but we must do so more sustainably than has been the case in the past seventy years. Six Inches of Soil provides a hopeful vision for sustainable farming, based on careful stewardship of our most precious resource, alongside farming with – rather than in opposition to – our natural environment. A timely work which points the way to a more sustainable approach to food, farming and the environment.

  3. 5.00 out of 5
    5 Reviews

    Ben Raskin, Head of Horticulture and Agroforestry, Soil Association & author of The Woodchip Handbook

    The team behind Six Inches of Soil have pulled off something remarkable. This book has succeeded in capturing the passion and wonder from the film, supplementing that content with scientific, farming and policy depth to produce a work that stands strongly on its own feet. If you are lucky enough to have already watched the film, you will be delighted by the extra detail and discourse within these pages. If you are reading it fresh, the combination of interviews, discussion and reflection will probably change the way you look at soil forever.

  4. 5.00 out of 5
    5 Reviews

    Jenny Jefferies, author of Islands In A Common Sea: Stories of Farming, Fishing and Food Around The World

    Readable, poetic and illustrative in its production; charming, evocative and educational in its content, Six Inches of Soil: How to Heal Our Soils, Ourselves, and Our Communities Through Regenerative Farming is above all helpful and honest. It’s not just for farmers, but for anyone and everyone.

  5. 5.00 out of 5
    5 Reviews

    Gabe Brown, Rancher, Educator, Author (Dirt to Soil) and Student of the Soil

    Six Inches of Soil tells the story of how and why agriculture went down the path of soil degradation which has led to losses in biodiversity, carbon, water quality and nutrient density in our foods BUT it then takes you on a captivating journey of regeneration. Highlighting farms on their regenerative journey. Showing us the way and giving us hope. A must read for all society.

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