Determination to farm brings its rewards in the very long term

14 August 1998

Determination to farm brings its rewards in the very long term

MANY have tried to start small-scale farming with limited resources and been forced to give up after an unequal struggle. Those who survive deserve respect.

Mary Hartshornes story* spans 70 years, dating back to the 1920s when she and her twin sister Alice were born illegitimately in Hackney, adopted by a kind elderly Quaker and spent their early childhood in Birmingham.

Close proximity to the countryside, holidays on farms and a love of wildlife eventually led to a job at the Herts College of Agriculture where Mary met her farm worker husband Jim. Attempts to make a living on a succesion of smallholdings and a try at farming life in Australia resulted in disappointment. Despite their experiences the Hartshornes, now with a family of four, found their way back to Yorks and finally, managed to establish themselves at Hardwick House Farm in Nidderdale, with all of its 27 less favoured acres.

This is no rags to riches story but one in which a couple overcame disapointments, and bad luck to find hard won and satisfying success. HPH

*From Hackney to Hill Farm – a tapestry three score years and ten, by Mary Hartshorne available from Country Books, Courtyard Cottage, Little Longstone, Bakewell, Derbys DE45 1NN (£10.50).

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