Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto

This was the starting point of the whole project. A little self-published pamphlet, born out of two years of conversations, crowdfunded over the internet, launched at a small riverside gathering outside Oxford in summer 2009.

Written by Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine, it marked our first attempt to put into words the ideas and feelings which led us to Dark Mountain. Think of it as a flag raised so that we can find one another. A point of departure, rather than a party line. An invitation to a larger conversation that continues to take us down unexpected paths.

Uncivilisation: The Dark Mountain Manifesto (slight seconds) SALE!

This was the starting point of the whole project. A little self-published pamphlet, born out of two years of conversations, crowdfunded over the internet, launched at a small riverside gathering outside Oxford in summer 2009.

Written by Paul Kingsnorth and Dougald Hine, it marked our first attempt to put into words the ideas and feelings which led us to Dark Mountain. Think of it as a flag raised so that we can find one another. A point of departure, rather than a party line. An invitation to a larger conversation that continues to take us down unexpected paths.

Sheaf: Harvest 2022

In 2020 the Dark Mountain Project collaborated with UK grain and pulse pioneers Hodmedod in the gathering of regenerative stories and art about grains and the people who grow them. We invited three writers to write, in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, of days spent on different farms in Somerset, Suffolk and Essex, before and after harvest. That project led to Sheaf: Writers in the Field which inspired more writers and artists to venture out to meet more of the farmers and makers in their network.

The result is this beautiful softback collection of interviews, fiction, photography, recipes and reports from the field.  A polyphonic swarm of interconnecting stories about agroecology, roots, peas, long straw deep time, future thinking, radical producers and seed preservers.

This year Sheaf’s contributors have visited farms in Suffolk, Essex and Shropshire and ventured onto allotments in south London. They’ve met bakers, farmers and researchers, photographed the seasons and captured images of roots, flowers and seeds. They’ve imagined the future, seen how the present can be informed by the past and heard how the microscopic world shapes our lives – whether in the soil or in our bodies.

This second Sheaf is a turf lifted on the mycorrhizal network we’re a part of […] Art and imagination weave through these stories, bringing new perspectives and connections.
 – Josiah Meldrum, Hodmedod co-founder, from his introduction to Sheaf

 

Writers: Charlotte Du Cann, Julius Honnor, Josiah Meldrum, Olivia Oldham, Nick Saltmarsh.

Artists: Richard Allenby-Pratt, Anne Campbell, Anne-Marie Culhane, Popeye Collective, Freddie Yauner.

Farmers and bakers: Peter and Andrew Fairs, Andy Forbes, William and Miranda Kendall, Vanessa Kimbell, Mark and Liz Lea, Paul, Tobias and Emma Watkin,

Editor: Charlotte Du Cann

Sheaf is an all-colour softback booklet, 52 pages long, printed on recycled and FSC-certified paper

Sheaf

What became immediately clear is that it is stories – narratives – and the relationships we build with each other through telling and retelling them that create lasting change, not bald facts about a climate emergency, or nitrogen fixation, or biodiversity loss, or diet-related poor health

– Josiah Meldrum, Hodmedod co-founder, from Sheaf introduction

 

What does it take to regain a right relationship with the land and what we eat in a time of fall? Sheaf is our first co-produced publication with grain and pulse pioneers Hodmedod, celebrating regenerative farmers and the crops they grow that foster resilience and beauty in the face of environmental breakdown.

Once there were stories that kept us close to the land, that told us about a spiritual and physical negotiation between the wild world and the domesticated grasses that fed and maintained us. In an increasingly industrialised world that dialogue has broken down with catastrophic consequences for the whole planet. We asked what would happen if writers were to go inside the agricultural fields of Britain and tell a story that was about the future: about farmers and farms that were remembering that original contract people made between their food crops and the territory that hosted them?

Last year, Dark Mountain three writers set out to write, in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, of their days spent on three different farms in Somerset, Suffolk and Essex, before and after the harvest. This booklet of their testimonies and accompanying artwork of grain and field speak of relationships between people, creatures and plants that you don’t always see, but are there nonetheless.

Sometimes, as the fairy tales and myths tell us, you only need the smallest of things to help you to change the course of destiny: an ant, a reed, an ear of tufted barley, a handful of coloured beans.

 

Writers in the field: Cate Chapman, Nick Hunt, Joanna Pocock

Artists: Anne Campbell, Kit Boyd

Producers: Charlotte Du Cann, Josiah Meldrum

Farmers: Col Gordon, Fred Price, Martin and Toby Wolfe, George Young

Cover: Domesticated Emmer Wheat by Anne Campbell, grown by Col Gordon

 

Sheaf is an all-colour softback booklet, 48 pages long, printed on recycled and FSC-certified paper