Wednesday 4 April 2012, 13:00
Our Food is a celebration of the nation's food - its origins, its tastes and the story it can tell us about our island's history.
I'm passionate about food and where it comes from.
At home I try and grow as many fruits and vegetables as the garden and greenhouse will allow and firmly believe the love and care put into the growing of food comes out in the flavour.
For me Our Food was an opportunity to extend that passion nationally and to explore the story of my favourite food and the people responsible for its production across Britain.
Alex Langlands meets Gwyn Thomas and his mountain sheep
Archaeologists - especially on TV - have been guilty of portraying archaeology in too narrow a light.
Over the last decade or so it has moved on as a discipline and has become so much more than a few trenches, some broken pottery and a handful of dusty old bones.
Archaeology is all about the material world around us and how to read that world.
Our own lives leave in their wake an archaeology of sorts, and even the most contemporary of industries leaves behind an archaeological record that can be studied in its own right.
The structured landscape of the world around us and the built environment are archaeological resources that can tell us a huge amount about ourselves.
The smokehouses of Mallaig, the dry stone walls of the Welsh valleys and the ancient field systems of Norfolk (all of which feature in the series) are all archaeological remnants of food-producing industries that have come to define these places and the people that occupy them.
What's more, before the Industrial Revolution the overwhelming majority of people in this country worked in a rural setting where their lives were intimately bound up with the production of one thing - food. So as an archaeologist you're never far from studying that which we have eaten and its centrality to our island's history.
It's a way of life that really appeals to me. My host Gwyn was a true inspiration and I can honestly say that after a day striding around the valley I didn't want to leave.
Carving out a living in this harsh environment is all about working with the conditions - not against them - and the idea that sheep can be 'hefted' to the hills fascinates me.
A 'hefted' flock is a flock that knows their patch of the hillside and knows where to be and when. So much so that when the farmer comes to round them up all he needs is a dog and a whistle and the ancient knowledge passed down from generation to generation of sheep kicks in.
The flock slowly make their way, without the encouragement of a quad bike or the constraints of barbed wire, to a convenient place on the mountainside where they can be counted and checked - magic and timeless.
So when I was asked to travel to Norfolk and explore the history of this humble vegetable and the role it still plays in agriculture, I was delighted.
This was a chance, once and for all, to spell out just how key it was to arable and livestock farming.
The results of its introduction can hardly be understated and there's little doubt that without this simple root vegetable farming would never have been able to support the huge population growth of the 19th Century.
It was in Norfolk that it was really brought home to me just how important food is.
Its production and consumption permeate almost every aspect of our lives and its story can tell us so very much more than we think about Britain's colourful and extraordinary history.
Our Food begins on Wednesday, 4 April at 8pm on BBC Two and BBC HD (except for analogue viewers in Northern Ireland and Wales). The series will be available to watch in iPlayer until Wednesday, 2 May. For more information about analogue television and the digital switchover please visit Help Receiving TV and Radio.
For further programme times, please see the episode guide.
Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.
Join the discussion...
Friday 30 March 2012, 10:35
Thursday 5 April 2012, 12:02