Julian Rose was born in March 1947, on the Hardwick Estate in South Oxfordshire’s Chiltern Hills, the youngest of four children. On the premature death of his brother (1963) and his father a few years later, Julian suddenly found himself thrust from being the youngest sibling to the heir of the thousand acre estate and baronetcy, passed down from his great grandfather.
On leaving school, Julian sought to harmonise strong artistic aspirations with the demands and responsibilities of his new found role as a ‘landowner’. At the age of eighteen he left for Australia and found work in the television presentation department of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Melbourne and as a ‘jackaroo’ in the Queensland outback.
Returning to the UK in 1967, he worked alongside his mother, developing the estate’s farming and forestry enterprises. In 1969 he won a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and moved to London, going on to work in regional repetory theatres as an actor/stage manager.
In 1971, in search of a more dynamic and inclusive theatre, he left for America where he joined the Players Theatre of New England, an innovative experimental touring theatre company, based in Boston.
A little later, when the company moved to Belgium, Julian helped to co-found the Institute for Creative Development, where he led workshops in ‘holistic thinking’.
Frequently returning to England, he gradually aquired a working ‘hands on’ knowledge of extensive farming and forestry management. Meanwhile, on tour in Holland, France and the UK, Julian performed as the sole actor in a ground breaking performance of Harvey Grossmann’s adaptation and direction of Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn’.
He moved back to Hardwick in 1983, to become a full time farmer, completing the conversion of the estate to organic farming methods, a process started in 1975, making him one of the pioneers of this ecological land management system. Joining the board of the Soil Association in 1984, Julian became involved in an intense campaign to promote ecological food and farming in the face of the rapid rise of industrial agriculture.
In 1986, Hardwick’s smoked bacon product won the first national organic food award. Three years later, Julian led a successful high profile campaign to save unpasteurised milk from a government ban. Recently Julian has opened up the Hardwick woods for increased public access and in support of the socially and educationally disadvantaged, as well as for young offenders seeking the therapeutic advantages of a mixed forestry environment.
Julian has ensured that a core of the estate’s cottages are let-out at non commercial ‘affordable rents’ to those who cannot compete with Oxfordshire’s high prices, with the emphasis on maintaining a working rural community rather than on maximising profits.
Julian also gained notoriety as both a defender and promoter of holistic approaches to the rejuvination of struggling rural economies. Notably his unremitting insistence on the need to support local and regional, as opposed to ‘global’, food economies. An approach coined in a formula he named “The Proximity Principle”.
He sought to raise awareness of the need to build a dynamic balance between economic, social and environmental concerns. Never just one or the other.
In the 1990’s he was invited to join the Agricultural and Rural Economy Advisory Committees of the South East of England Development Agency, the Country Land Owners Association and the BBC. During this time Julian drew on his drama training in frequent broadcasts on national radio and television, also contributing many articles proposing practical solutions to pressing socio-economic problems afflicting the ever more embattled countryside. In 1990 he took on the position of agricultural correspondent of the green broadsheet ‘Environment Now’, becoming one of the first UK activists to warn of the impending dangers of genetically modified foods.
The Hardwick Estate blossomed into one of Britain’s leading organic mixed farms, picking up a number of national awards. Throughout this time Julian conducted numerous educational farm walks, ever enthusiastic to open socially deprived and urban based youngsters to the often complex realities of ecological food production. African, Indian, Japanese, Turkish and Polish groups were amongst international visitors to the estate.
In 2000 Julian was invited to become a co-director of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside, co-launching a highly successful ‘Campaign for a GMO Free Poland’ as well as leading a high profile defence of peasant farmers whom he holds-up as the true guardians of biodiversity throughout the world. Regular listeners to BBC radio 4’s Framing To-Day will have heard Julian’s 2007 series of once monthly “Letters from Poland” passionately highlighting the crisis provoked by forcing ‘corporate globalisation’ onto traditional family farming communities.
In “Changing Course For Life”, Julian Rose draws together all the strands of his highly diverse life experiences and, in a multidimensional vision of the future, calls for an uncompromising commitment to dynamic, decentralised community leadership as the chief vehicle for overcoming the dominant and life threatening Orwellian collusion between corporate greed and political ineptitude. Julian foresees this new beginning blossoming into a life-affirming process of humanistic and spiritual self realisation.