Q & A with Linda Moss, Publisher, Organic Holidays Directory, Guiseley, Yorkshire UK
An online directory of selected farms, private cottages, B&B's, and hotels in the UK and Europe that offer a quiet country respite for travelers with organic meals or self-catering.
LINDA, PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
I was born in Guiseley, near the city of Leeds, in the county of West Yorkshire, and I have lived here all my life! I'm now a grandmother with three adult children and four grandchildren, and we all live close by one another here in the same village.
I had been an organic vegetable box coordinator for Goosemoor Organics in Wetherby for a couple of years, and by that point in my life most of the food I bought was organic. I was looking for somewhere to go for a weekend away and wondered if there might be anywhere to stay that served organic food. So I was looking for this kind of information.
Back then I had to rely mostly on travel brochures or adverts in the classifieds as I was not trained on computer use – I was not even familiar with a “mouse!” Eventually I went to night school to learn how to use a computer, discovered Google and the Internet search process, and began to gather the data I wanted to include. I launched my directory in 1999 with places in the UK but as time went by I started to add places in European countries and a few other destinations in the world.
In my research I came across a book called The Organic Directory by Clive Litchfield. I reached out to Mr. Litchfield, and he was very kind and communicated with me on several occasions and inspired me to make my own book, which I titled Organic Places to Stay. It was essentially a print-off of the listings on my website. My husband assisted with the binding, and I ended up with some 200 copies which I then sold at organic farmer's markets and offered as a prize for The Soil Association's competitions. Eventually Green Books, the publisher of The Organic Directory, made me an offer to publish several editions of Organic Places to Stay. The last edition was in 2009. I have continued to grow my online directory to what it is today.
YOU ARE PROVIDING LISTINGS AND LINKS BUT NOT SELLING HOLIDAYS.
Right, I was never interested in selling the holidays, just in locating and sharing the information that I would like to have myself.
The directory is used by people who buy organic food (or at least are interested in a more ‘natural’ diet) and people whose lifestyle is environmentally friendly.
WHAT CRITERIA DO YOU USE TO SELECT YOUR LISTINGS?
About half of the accommodations are situated on a certified organic farm or smallholding, which in itself qualifies them as appropriate listings. The rest of the accommodations are places where food is provided, at least 50% of which should be organic, preferably supplemented by home-grown, local, and/or natural produce.
Yes, I have stayed at three different places in the Lake District, and I have also stayed at Bangors Organic in Cornwall with my husband and his brother and wife.
CAN YOU SHARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR EXPERIENCE?
I very much enjoyed staying at all four places – but particularly at Bangors Organic. At the time, Bangors Organic had three organic certifications - one for the smallholding, one for the restaurant, and one for Bed and Organic Breakfast. It was an absolute treat to eat totally organic food, all grown on-site, for several days.
ARE MOST OF THE LISTINGS ARE WITHIN THE UK?
I think about half the places to stay are in the UK and the rest are elsewhere, mostly in Europe.
It’s difficult to be general. There are so many of these types of places to stay now in the UK, and they are all different. It would depend on many factors, such as whether you envision a farm stay in a mainly rural location or if you wish to be near the sea coast or a national park. Do you want organic meals provided, or will you buy produce and other foods on-site and then make your own provisions? Are you traveling with a spouse or a friend, or are you a family with several children? Write an email to me with your questions, and I will be happy to offer you some guidance. Send to:
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
You're welcome, and thank you.
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