A fascinating personal account of a revolution in British farming
Sarah Langford had left her country roots behind to live and work in the city as a barrister. But when she found herself moving to the countryside, back to an agricultural life she had left behind, she saw farmers dealing with very different problems to those faced by her grandfather, who had fed a starving nation after war. Beleaguered with the challenges of climate change, Brexit and falling incomes, they faced accusations of ecological mismanagement from a hostile media and public. But, as Sarah looked to them to teach her about the land, she also found a new generation of farmers on a path of regenerative change.
In Rooted, Sarah weaves her own story around these farmers – from dairy to arable, traditional to experimental – who taught her what being a farmer means. Intimate and moving, these stories shine a light on the human side of modern farming, and show us how land connects us all, not only in terms of global sustainability but in our relationships with our physical and mental health, our communities, our planet and ourselves.
An authentic, beautifully written portrait of 21st Century farming, this deeply personal account puts a powerful case: that the task of restoring our earth and ensuring a sustainable future both for our food and ourselves, lies in the hands of those who live closest to the land.
Sarah Langford is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law. For ten years, she worked in criminal and family law in London and around the UK. Coming from a farming background in Hampshire, she studied English at University before training as a barrister. Sarah left the Bar on maternity leave to have her two sons. In 2017 she moved to Suffolk and, together with her husband, took on the management of his small family farm. She now lives between Southwest London and Suffolk.
"Enthralling [...] An unignorable call to understand the challenges facing not only farming but the Earth itself."
"Absorbing, compassionate [and] galvanising."
"Langford writes so movingly of the countryside and its effect on her heart and her family."
"More than a memoir; Langford manages to contain and convey the whole scale of the coming agricultural revolution."
– Daily Telegraph
"A refreshing perspective on a overwhelmingly masculine world"
– Financial Times
"Sarah Langford's book on farming is really a book about healing. All of life and death is here: family, politics, nature, climate, history, humanity. Rooted is a beautifully written, powerful reminder of where we've gone wrong, what is at stake, and how we can change. I loved it."
– Christie Watson, bestselling author of The Language of Kindness
"Rooted offers us an honest look at the farming life today. It is not an easy way to make a living, but through Langford's personal story – and those of who she meets – we appreciate how it offers a connection with the land, and a firmer sense of our place in the world. Raw, earthy and inspiring."
– Cal Flyn, author of Islands of Abandonment
"Moving, startling, uplifting, galvanising and unsettling, this plainly beautiful book is one of those rare few that changes how you see the world around you: the shape of fields seen from a train, the vegetables in a supermarket chiller cabinet, the earth beneath your feet and falling through your fingers."
– Ella Risbridger, author of Midnight Chicken and The Year of Miracles
"A beautifully written, incredibly timely book addressing not just where our food comes from and why this matters so much, but also fundamental questions relating to our relationship with the land, and the definition of home."
– Clover Stroud, author of My Wild and Sleepless Nights
"Heartbreaking and hopeful, this story of a farming revival has never been more important. It opened my eyes and touched my soul"
– Esther Freud
"A magical book of wonderful stories about how farmers think and the challenges they face. It demonstrates that farmers across the country are passionate about producing food and caring for the land. A triumph"
– Jake Fiennes, author of Land Healer
"Rooted is a brave thing: a book that prods into the ever-widening gulf between the binaries we increasingly use to examine the world. As conversations about what we eat and where it comes from reach fever-pitch, Sarah Langford's clear-eyed, inquisitive and passionate plea for farmers and farming offers a vital understanding when it has never been so needed. I hope everyone reads it."
– Alice Vincent, author of Rootbound
"An eloquent and personal insight into the terrible human as well as environmental cost of cheap food and an inspiring account of the people working to heal our relationship with our habitat and ourselves. Urgent, necessary and moving."
– Ben Rawlence, author of The Treeline
"A fine book: heartfelt, honest and hopeful. Sarah has the knowledge and skill to help people better understand where their food comes from and why we should all care."
– Helen Rebanks
"Moving, intimate, tender and searing, this is a gem of a book with deep roots and fresh green shoots."
– Tamsin Calidas, author of I Am An Island
"A timely and optimistic book, ostensibly about why we need farming to produce food, but more deeply about how farming is done, or could be done. Refreshingly authentic, Rooted gives us a hopeful sense of a regenerative future"
– Juliet Blaxland, author of The Easternmost House and The Easternmost Sky
"Evocative and resonant. These are stories that need to be told."
– Andy Cato, Groove Armada and Wildfarmed
"Poetically written and filled with compelling data about modern-day farming"
"Where Rooted ploughs its own shining furrow in its humanity [...] but also the gathered, inspirational stories of farmers trying to do better and greener."
– John Lewis-Stempel