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Sam Phillips

Sam and his family farm near Cirencester on his mixed tenanted farm. Sam has been organic since 1999 and his passion for stewarding the environment has seen him recently step into regenerative farming.

Sam's Farm

Macaroni Farm is steeped in History and has been tenanted by the Phillips family since 1891. The farm is thought to be named after the exclusive eighteenth century gentleman’s club in London, favoured by dandies who wore fancy Italian-inspired clothing and white wigs. Members of the ‘Macaroni Club’, as they were appropriately named, regularly travelled to Cheltenham to see the races.


Under Sam’s management, the farm's focus is squarely on producing top quality food from a thriving farm ecosystem. It is Sam’s passion for food and the way it's produced that drives a lot of the farming decisions.


"As farmers we need to realise we are food producers and environmental stewards, and improve the links between us and the food industry".


Sam uses herbal leys as the critical building block to put natural fertility back to his soils. The herbal leys and mob-grazed livestock enable the subsequent cereal production on the land without using artificial fertilisers and sprays. 


Each year, Sam works with local company Cotswold’s Seeds to design a seed mix for his ley with a high percentage of sainfoin, as well as clovers and trefoils for maximum nitrogen fixation. 


“Our mix includes a diverse range of grasses to hold the sward together, such as Timothy, red fescue, a little ryegrass and plenty of deep rooting cocksfoot. The thin brashy soil is prone to drying up in the summer, so the mix needs to include drought tolerant herbs like the mineral rich chicory and plantain. We try to mimic the plant diversity of nature, with all the benefits to the soil. Every farm is different and we're working out what suits our soils from season to season”.


The herbal leys are all mob-grazed with cattle and sheep, an approach Sam adopted after witnessing the damage of conventional set-stocking.  


“When we were set-stocking and grazing tighter we felt we were taking more out of the ground than we were putting back. Now we are seeing the benefits of mob grazing and out wintering all stock. It’s amazing how the land has transformed in just a year. By grazing a third, trampling a third, and leaving a third of the forage, the land is recovering and regenerating.”

"Becoming a Grassroots Farmer allows me to access new and exciting premium markets that want to support the farming system I’m developing” says Sam.


“Regenerative farming is about observation and trying different things" he adds. “By being part of the Grassroots community I can learn from other farmers with the same philosophy as us at Macaroni farms”. 

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