Some may call it a double life, others may view it as living a thrilling life, yet for the world of Land-based and Environment we call it a diverse and rewarding adventure. Splitting her time between a career as a criminal barrister and working on a family run arable farm during the weekends, Eleanor Durdy has always had the passion to pursue both from a young age. Eleanor says she is “lucky to be born into a farming family, where my dad is a first-generation farmer, so have always had an interest in it.” She was interested in law from a young age as her grandma was a Magistrate and she grew up watching Legally Blonde. This ultimately enticed her into pursuing a legal career!
Starting off working full-time at the farm throughout school, sixth form, and university, Eleanor commenced her legal profession, reducing her farming activities to only seasonal work. After that, she went to university for her undergraduate, and master's, then completed The Bar to become a barrister. Not wanting to immediately dive into her legal career, she began working on the farm for three years until October 2020 when she started her journey as a full-time barrister.
She went on to add the importance of transferable skills, a concept used in both her career as a barrister and whilst working time on the farm. “I preach this to everyone and say to them the skills you use on a farm can be transferred to be used as a barrister. I can use my analytical skills for both when assessing and finding fair resolutions.” Eleanor has shown throughout her experiences that she is resilient, confident, and hardworking.
“Training is important - to learn from people who are already in the sector, apprenticeships are best to learn on the job.” Apprentices can train and work in a variety of aspects within the farming industry. They are broad, allowing the opportunity to develop many skills in different areas. With the right attitude, there is no loss! We either practice what we’ve gathered or understand what we need to practice.
Eleanor explains the fact that challenges can come depending on the weather as water has a crucial role in agricultural production and securing food. “When achieving success against the weather on the farm, it is the best feeling!”
She understands the importance of farmers taking some time to explore away from the farm, as it can come with quite a fair share of challenges. Nevertheless, the industry offers endless opportunities, with a range of skills development to be gained and huge satisfaction of taking long-term care of the land, green energy, and biodiversity. Securing the future of the natural environment and protecting it for future generations.
We have learned from Eleanor not to pass judgment on a career without experiencing it first! Working in farming is an opportunity to be an ecosystem engineer that feeds the nation - Making a difference from the ground upwards is something to cherish, as well as giving people the chance to experience life on a farm and to learn where our food comes from.
“Go and experience being on a farm, there is a huge misconception of how it is, yet you must try it first, shadow work is the most helpful!”