More and more people in Cornwall are discovering the joy of growing their own, especially so in the current tough financial climate.

And even though green shoots of growth are sprouting for the bleak economy, the advantage in turning to the land for both food and lifestyle reasons is blossoming.

In fact, skills from the past are very much on the agenda for the future, says Smallholder magazine editor Liz Wright who is herself an expert smallholder and beekeeper and has laying hens, waterfowl, garden and orchard.

The earthy view of the ‘good life’ was epitomised in the 1970s comedy series which saw urbanites and smallholders living next door to each other.

With echoes of that ever-popular TV show, many people says Liz are embarking on new lives, with just as many turning their window box into a herb planter, or dividing up their garden into a vegetable patch where once flowers stood.

‘There’s a real feeling of back to the earth,’ says Liz who works a four-acre smallholding in Cambridgeshire, alongside editing the national Smallholder magazine.

‘What I am seeing is literally people re-rooting their thinking, whether in traditional cottage-style growing, or smaller gestures like window boxes to huge smallholding developments, says Liz, aged 52.

‘We’re not talking about total self-sufficiency, but more the balanced view. People whether through their gardens or by joining allotment or urban growing groups, are seeing and feeling the joy of growing their own.’ And there’s nothing new about smallholding, she says. But the life balance is being met with many modern smallholders taking on jobs to supplement their semi self-sufficient lifestyle.

‘You just have to look at the rich history of Smallholder magazine. Copies I have dating back more than a hundred years amplify that the current enthusiast has much in common with those of yesteryear.’ The magazine has always come straight from the soil, she says, and is written by smallholding experts to make readers experts in their fields.

‘And now we’re also seeing growth in poultry-keeping alongside land use.’ A typical issue of Smallholder magazine, says Liz, will look at poultry housing, breeding, feeding and choosing birds, plus have a section where experts answer reader questions.

‘Allotment growing is a must for the 21st century and Smallholder magazine takes this a step further and looks at market gardening where crops are grown for household use but with an eye to having a surplus to sell.

‘Herbs for cooking and for profit are on the menu as are garden structures from cloches to greenhouses, composting to polytunnels,’ she says.

‘Smallholding is all about people as well as animals and crops, so stories of individual journeys into countryside crafts provide inspiration and helpful ideas.

‘Not only about rural enterprises, those featured have included urban farmers moving from London to West Wales, and even smallholding from a canal boat!

‘It seems everyone can be a smallholder in some way – smallholding is a way of life whether you have a back yard or five acres, there is something for everyone,’ adds Liz.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a show to find out about all things smallholding and want to meet people who can either get you started or give valuable advice, then put the date for the Smallholder and Garden Festival show at Builth Wells, May 15-16, in your diary.

Run by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society, preparation is well underway for the annual weekend event, with all the usual stands and attractions. You can read regular show updates on or

If you have a story for Smallholder, contact Liz Wright on 01354 741538 or e-mail Smallholder magazine is available at or can be ordered from leading newsagents, supermarkets or through the subscriptions hotline 01823 365203 or click on