The life of Jorian Jenks (1899-1963) has great potential to upset settled assumptions. Why did a sensitive and intelligent man from a liberal family become a fascist? How did a Blackshirt go green?

The son of an eminent academic, from his childhood onwards Jenks instead longed to farm. Lacking the means to do so, he worked as a farm bailiff and then, in New Zealand, as a government agricultural instructor. Finally, a legacy permitted him to come home and become a tenant farmer. Struggling to survive in the economic depression of the 1930s, he became an author and activist for rural reconstruction. Then, having lost faith in the established parties, he joined the British Union of Fascists. Becoming one of the Blackshirts’ leading figures, he was imprisoned without trial during the war. On his release, Jenks returned to the struggle, this time in the cause of ecology, becoming a pioneer of today’s organic movement and a founder of the Soil Association.

This book draws on an extensive range of sources, a large proportion of which were previously unseen by historians. For the first time, it portrays the private and public life of this unusual man, revealing many hitherto un-glimpsed facets of Jenks’ life.

chapter |4 pages


chapter 1|8 pages


chapter 2|9 pages


chapter 3|6 pages

Agricultural education

chapter 4|9 pages


chapter 5|5 pages

London interlude

chapter 6|8 pages


chapter 7|10 pages

A small legacy

chapter 8|7 pages


chapter 9|12 pages

An Interesting South-Coast Farm

chapter 10|7 pages

Farming and Money

chapter 11|8 pages

Another Cobbett

chapter 12|14 pages

The Land and the People

chapter 13|8 pages

Pigs and Pen

chapter 14|14 pages

A farmer’s philosophy

chapter 15|8 pages


chapter 16|10 pages


chapter 17|6 pages

J.J. Zeal

chapter 18|7 pages

The Rural Reconstruction Association

chapter 19|9 pages

Church and Countryside

chapter 20|5 pages


chapter 21|10 pages

Through the tunnel

chapter 22|9 pages

The organic movement

chapter 23|11 pages

A young plant of great promise

chapter 24|8 pages

Resurrection of the RRA

chapter 25|14 pages

The Soil Association

chapter 26|7 pages

From the Ground Up

chapter 27|7 pages

Rural Economy Ltd

chapter 28|16 pages

Feeding the Fifty Million

chapter 29|14 pages

The Whole Works

chapter 30|15 pages