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 becoming the heir to the thousand acre estate and baronetcy, passed down from his great grandfather.
After two generations of historical hardship, undergone in order to rescue the then mortgaged estate from bankruptcy, the estate had been left in a somewhat perilous position – presenting a significant challenge to the young protege.
Julian took a ‘hands-on’ approach to this challenge; seeing himself as fulfilling the role of a trustee of the land and it’s dwellings and as responsible for passing them on in perpetuation to future generations.
Under pressure to adopt mainstream chemically assisted agricultural methods, Julian surprised his contemporaries by commencing the conversion of the land to organic farming methods, which he set in motion in 1975, thus becoming one of the earliest UK organic pioneers. After witnessing the habitat, soil and food destruction caused by agrichemicals, he vowed to protect the biodiversity of the land and it’s soils and to maintain an important refuge for wildlife.
To try and make this way of farming into a financially viable proposition at a time when there were not yet any organic premiums, he decided to ‘direct market’ all the products of the farm himself, locally, with no middleman. Starting a small organic dairy herd, he tended the animals and delivered their unpasteurised milk and cream to local families, probably becoming the first titled milkman in England!
Later, when the government tried to ban unpasteurised milk, he led a successful high profile campaign to save it, drawing praise from the Prince of Wales and scorn from the big dairy chains. The farm went on to win national awards for its home produced cream, smoked bacon and innovative farm shop.
In the estate woodlands, Julian continued the tradition passed down to him, of maintaining a mixed variety of species and managing them according to system of commercial and conservation principles. Recently he has opened up the woods for increased public access and in support of socially and educationally disadvantaged young people 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 the high prices of the South of England, with the emphasis on maintaining a working rural community rather than on maximising profits.
Outside the estate, Julian has taken a passionate interest in supporting the revival of hard pressed rural economies, putting a high percentage of his working time into socio-economic and environmental campaigning causes, as well as founding or co-founding several non governmental organisations. He recently came up with a formula for localised food, fibre and fuel known as “The Proximity Principle.” He has served on three national Agriculture and Rural Economy committees, including for the BBC, and has been asked to provide advice to government. Julian was a board member of the Soil Association throughout the 1980’s and 90’s and is a patron of the Small Farmers Association and Natural Food Finders.
A penchant for helping those who cannot easily help themselves has most recently taken him to Poland, where he applies his energies to fighting for the retention of ecologically benign peasant farming practices. He is President of the International Coalition to Protect the Polish Countryside founded by Jadwiga Lopata, with whom Julian has formed a lasting relationship. The Polish countryside is under intense threat from the European Union, international agribusiness corporations and the imposition of genetically modified organisms.
Julian started out as an actor and stage manager, training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Firstly working in traditional repertory theatres in the UK and then, as actor/assistant director with an international experimental theatre company, based in Boston USA. A company that eventually became based in Antwerp, Belgium. His experiences in the creative arts imbued him with a desire to bring into constant and dynamic interrelationship, practical and artistic mediums of work to which he now adds spiritual and social concerns.
He is the author of many articles and has broadcast extensively over the years. Before his present book ‘Overcoming the Robotic Mind’, Julian has written two other books: ‘Changing Course for Life – Local Solutions to Global problems’ and ‘In Defence of Life’.
Aside from his home Country, Julian has lived and worked in Australia, America, Belgian and Poland. He has a son and a daughter, now in their mid thirties and taking-up the challenge presented by ongoing developments of the Hardwick Estate.