FARMER Jeff Glyn-Jones has well-earned his stripes as an advocate of sustainable farming.Thus it should have come as little surprise when his name was put forward as a "guardian of the soil".

As part of a sculpture show celebrating links with nature, Jeff, who lives in an 'off-grid' eco-house at Almeley, fitted the bill. He struggled at agricultural college after reading Rachel Carson's book The Silent Spring, a stark warning about the indiscriminate use of pesticides on the environment. After farming for many years at Almeley, he and his wife Carey set up the Countrysole project - sustainable organic living experience - to close the gap between care of the country and creature comforts.

But he was still not convinced when he asked to pose for the noted sculptor, Jon Edgar, so that a clay model of his head would stand alongside other advocates of green living such as Sir Tim Smit, famous for his work on the Lost Gardens of Heligan and the Eden Project.

"These things are usually done for famous people - and I'm not famous!" he said.

However, Jenny Watt said the organisers of the sculpture show at Newport House, Almeley, Out of Nature, wanted to portray someone who "impersonates our connection to the land".

She added: "Indeed, the show is about celebrating our link to nature, and raises funds for The Cart Shed, a social venture which engages people with mental health issues through doing green wood craft in the woods.

"Jeff is a well liked farmer, and advocate of sustainable farming, and a neighbour, so it seemed appropriate to ask him."

Jeff described himself as "gobsmacked" when asked to sit for the sculptor. "I was even more surprised when I found out the prominent people who were also sitting for Jon Edgar," he said.

The Glyn-Jones family gave up the farm three years ago, since when Jeff and Carey have been putting into practice their principles for green living "We are trying to live a lifestyle with a total system of sustainability," he said.

Countrysole aims to raise awareness of the unnecessary use of the world's finite resources and to encourage use of sustainable materials in everyday life, recycling where possible and striving to close the gap between environmental demands and modern living conditions.

Jeff was eventually persuaded to have the sculpture done. "I didn't know how I was going to sit still for so long, but it was a good experience, we had a joyful exchange of views," said Jeff. "I was very impressed with his technique.

"I never ever thought in my life anyone would ask me to sit for such an experience, but it's one I wouldn't otherwise have had."

* Out of Nature exhibition is at Newport House, Almeley until October 25.