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Published: New York Review Books - September 17th, 2019
This is the story of how a multi-generational intensive-method farm went from the barren desert that that creates, to the lush, thriving, land that it is today, and one family’s incredibly brave decision to see if they could indeed rewild the piece of earth that they are the guardians of.
It is ultimately, a story of hope, but most importantly hope realised.
Faced with economic hardship created by a method of farming that is so expensive to maintain, Charlie Burrell decided to plunge instead into an epic project, called the “Knepp Experiment” to see what would happen if they stepped back from the land, could it rewild itself? To his, and many observers, sheer delight the over 8,000 acres of land, very quickly reestablished itself to a diverse ecosystem, and along with the reinvigoration of plantlife came the increase in native wildlife. Now home to free-roaming cattle, pigs, and deer, as well as the many once-common wild things that witnessed a resurgence, like the turtle doves, nightingales, and purple emperor butterflies to name a few. With globally shocking statistics in biodiversity loss, this is the message we all need, that when the will is there, we can make a difference and bring back health to the nature that sustains us. Such an important book, I cannot recommend it highly enough. ~ Reviewed by Becky Doherty