Wild Geese Acres - Greenham Reach
In 2014, at the age of 49, James Dexter established Wild Geese Acres, a 6.5 acre farm. His partner Sukamala arrived a year later to help establish the business which, six years on, is now a thriving, permanent, small-scale farm.
‘My first job at 17 was on a tree survey in Epping Forest. I applied to study environmental science at 18 and they told me to go and do something interesting and come back. So I went to study on the agroecology programme at the University of California in Santa Cruz - now a prestigious qualification. Back then it was a little farm next to the university and I was apprenticed there for a year.
I’ve always been serious about food growing. There have been times when I’ve had less opportunity to grow because I’ve not had access to land. Food was always a big focus because I saw the power of people understanding where their food comes from, the direct therapeutic value it has for people, being outside, and the delight of pulling up a beetroot and then going and cooking it. This is what interested me more than the growing - sharing the wonder of it with other people. I worked at Freightliners Farm in Islington. The city farm got me interested in passing on knowledge about food to inner city children.
I always wanted a piece of land of my own. I’d been looking at buying some land and setting up a smallholding but I was aware that it was really complicated and our planning system wasn’t friendly to sustainable farmers. I’d been looking and got discouraged because it was so difficult and expensive. Then I heard about the ELC and the plots at Greenham Reach, I applied and the rest is history…’ James