Meet the city dwellers going back to the land

Of all occupations,” observed the Roman philosopher Cicero, “there is none better than agriculture, nothing more productive, nothing sweeter, nothing more worthy of a free man.” It is a sentiment that still holds true in the popular imagination – despite the many well-documented travails suffered by British farmers in recent years. For while the 20th century saw the rapid decline in the importance of agriculture in all its forms – today it accounts for just 0.5 per cent of our GDP and employs barely 500,000 people – the yearning to own or work a patch of land remains as strong as ever and is felt, it seems, most keenly among urban professionals for whom the ultimate lifestyle choice takes them straight back to nature.

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