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Focus on Smallholder with editor Liz Wright

Smallholder Magazine is the leading monthly publication for the small producer and self-reliant household and has a publishing history spanning almost 100 years. Editor Liz Wright talks to FeaturesExec about the publication, her passions and having a go at burlesque.

About the publication:

What subjects do you cover?
All aspects of small farming and smallholding including urban smallholding from window box to country living with a few acres.

What makes Smallholder different from other outlets in your sector?
We are written by practical smallholders for practical people and our contributors are at the top of their fields so to speak! We also include vintage and veteran machinery and tractors and quite a lot of land care articles including fencing, grass care and so on.

Can you tell me about the magazine’s readership?
Very varied from those thinking about making the move to the countryside, those who want to make a sustainable life in urban areas, existing smallholders and those who want or do make a living out of small rural business such as artisan cheese makers.

Do you produce a features list? Why? Why not?
A very basic one – as smallholding is seasonal then so are we with seeds in the spring, lambing, kidding etc and then harvesting in autumn and so on.

Do you use freelance contributions, and if so, are they for any particular section?
We always look at freelance contributions but unless they have some technical merit, we are not that interested in personal smallholding experiences. They need to include information of use to our readers.

Has there been an increase or decrease in small producers and self-reliant households?
A huge increase at all levels.

What future plans do you have for Smallholder magazine?
We work with the RWAS Smallholder and Garden Festival 15-16 May. Press passes available from the RWAS
I’m putting together a readers survey for our June issue.

About PRs:

Do you work closely with PRs (e.g. for supplements, round tables, events) or do you keep them at arm’s length?
Happy to hear from PRs with relevant stories (which could be small business stories as a proportion of our readers are running such)

Do you have any advice for PRs?
Please don’t expect to provide us with a few facts and tell us to pull pics of website. We are looking for well written final copy for articles to our specs. And we don’t want to trawl reports etc unless we ask.

What’s the best starting point for a PR who wants to tell you about their client?

What information/input from PRs is most useful to you?
Short specific items that tie in with our contents. Please read a copy of the magazine or look at our website.

Do you have a PR pet hate?
Those who when you say, yes we are interested, could you write us something, direct you to the website and expect you to down load pics. And I hate those who think the more mentions they get of a product into their PR, the better value it will be.

When is the best time for PRs to contact you & what is your deadline for contributions?
Anytime. I also need items of interest for the website. If date specific then we work 6-8 weeks ahead.

About you:

What interests you most about your job?
It’s so varied and such a wide base of subjects. I’m passionate about the countryside and food and am a keen smallholder myself. I love working with my very practical writers and I’ve learnt a lot from them too – especially about gardening as I had quite a knowledge of livestock when I started.

What led to you becoming editor of Smallholder?
I saw the ad way back in 1987 and thought ‘this is for me!’

What was your first job?
No. I have freelanced all my life since I was 13 and used to do Parish Council reports for the local paper at that age. But my main job until I edited Smallholder was working within main stream agricultural industry as a seed specialist and grain trader – not a lot of people know that!! I’ve also worked in the publicity department of Butterworths Legal Publishers.

Do you Twitter? Why, why not?
No, I really don’t have time and I want to have some time to spend with my animals and in my garden.

What’s your favourite food/drink?
Used to be gin but since the artrial fibrillation problem, I’ve had to develop an interest in wine and I now really enjoy wine, particularly English when I can find some. I love nearly all food but am obviously careful to source free range meat and local produce even if that means standing in a supermarket reading all the labels. (Yes I do have to use supermarkets but I do check the source). I don’t eat offal, I’m sure its very worthy and tasty but somehow I just don’t eat it…… I adore vegetables especially spinach.

I’d like to have a go at….
Burlesque – in fact I have just had a go at burlesque and it was great. Would love to do some more. Spend most of my time in wellies and covered in mud so the idea of wearing something glamourous and caking myself in make up is quite different to my normally life!

I (or my Exmoor pony) is going to have a go at Horse Agility this year.


[img|jpg|Liz Wright at the RWAS smallholder and garden festival Builth Wells]