Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Food Security

I read an interesting article in the RHS magazine recently about food security (or lack of it) in the UK. By this, I mean the ability of the United Kingdom to grow and provide all the food it needs to sustain the population. It won't be long before we cannot rely on a plentiful food supply coming in from other countries. Only one tenth of the fruit that we eat in the UK is grown here, and just under a half of all the vegetables. There will come a time in the not too distant future when supplies of water and fuel become scarce that we will all need to grow our own food. Most people in the UK have no idea how to do that, and therefore it will be up to you and I - the food growing bloggers - to show them how, before they all starve to death!

Growing food locally using sustainable methods has been placed at the top of the Government's food security agenda following its first ever assessment on the safetly of the country's food supply. So all of us out here, the beekeepers, poultry keepers farmers and allotmenteers will be in great demand. I know I won't go hungry! will you?

15 Comments:

At 11:15 PM, Blogger miss m (InfG) said...

So true. I watched an interesting 3-part documentary called 'Future of Food' earlier this year covering the issue. A real eye-opener. It's making more sense than ever to grow our own.

 
At 11:44 PM, Blogger Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Not too late a reminder:) When i visited Bali, i was really amazed to see like every conceivable piece of land, small patches here and there used to grow food for self-sustainance. Right now, it's only the bitter gourd that's growing in my garden.

 
At 3:56 AM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

That is actually very forward thinking of your country to assess that risk and place priority on it now rather than when the crisis truly hits.

I take food production for my family rather seriously. It's something I feel strongly about and try to devote much of my website and blog posts to that very topic. The point is to encourage and help others to start practicing a lifestyle that includes producing more of your own food supply - as much as is practical and possible to do.

 
At 6:18 AM, Blogger Paula said...

Funny, your post- it's exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing!! I wish I could hack off to the county, but my husband is a city mouse, so the 'burbs was the best compromise we could make. So- I'm setting out to do what I can on a quarter acre. You can check me out on http://weedingforgodot.blogspot.com

I think that in the not too distant future, when the end of cheap oil and abundant (such as it is) water is all over and done with, growing your own food will be the difference between getting by and having a very miserable time of things. I wish I were not so pessimistic, I didn't used to be this way, but if you're paying attention, the signs are all there. Burying your head in the sand and not believing the end of oil is coming is just going to leave you literally, out in the cold, and probably hungry. So- I'm trying to learn how to grow food so that I can feed us now while I still have other food sources to fill in the blanks where I miss. I'm starting by building my very clay soil. The fruit trees are on order. I'm kind of scared anyway. I sure hope I can pull this off, because I don't like to think about the alternative.

I also think it's up to all of us individuals pulling together to get it done, because our governments are failing us miserably. If there is one thing that Hurricane Katrina taught me is that you cannot count on your government to help you. No one can.

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

Born as I was, a few years after WW2, I remember a time when everyone grew something, if it was only a few potatoes and carrots and a clump of rhubarb. How did it all slip away? I am heartened by the number of young couples with babies who decide that they want not just local but also better food for their children. It's up to us oldies to help end encourage them. I hope that's what our blogs do Matron.

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Oh I want everyone to grow something!! I've tortured my friends into at least growing strawberries and tomatoes. It's better for them, our country, our planet and our mental health. Grow Our Own? YES PLEASE!! xxxx

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger Robert said...

They used to be obsessed with food security (not surprisingly since we were blockaded twice last century), but the cost of that was food mountains and massive environmental damage. I think we need to find sustainable ways of producing our own food, as flying it all over the world isn't sustainable either.

Overall, we've got all thje water we need. The problem is that neither it nor people is evenly distributed. Rain falls overwhelmingly in the north and west, while the great majority of people live in the south and east. We've never really tackled the problem of getting it from one end of the country to the other.

Since Victorian times, Birmingham has got its water from mid-Wales, and if they could do it then, I'm sure we can manage now if we try!

 
At 1:50 AM, Blogger Dan said...

It is a scary topic. Almost every aspect of modern agriculture is based on fossil fuels which as you side will not last forever. My though has always been, can the worlds population even feed itself without fossil fuels at this point. With such a large population and airable land shrinking it could be a real problem.

On another note, I have a photo up a few posts ago of the Crimson Broad Beans seed I saved this year. I have a pretty good supply from only a few plants. Thanks again for the seed!

 
At 3:34 AM, Blogger BilboWaggins said...

Great post Matron, hope you don't mind if I link to it from my blog.

Like Veg Heaven, I was brought up by parents who had been through WW2 and growing veg, keeping hens, rabbits & bees was the difference between getting by and being OK.

Like Paula, we have a long way to go at Bag End before we're feeding ourselves even a little but I am constantly so grateful that we have the land and therefore the choice/opportunity.

 
At 7:59 PM, Blogger Sue Swift said...

Agree totally. I was looking at plants in the garden centre today too, and wondering just what their carbon footprint was. Plants like Pothos and tradescantia that you can just break off from a friend's plant and stick in a pot of earth being sold at ridiculous prices. Not exactly what you were talking about, but I'm sure you'll see the connection.
Re your comment on my blog - where is Bilbo? I wish I knew. Still travelling it seems. But I did warn his last host that the Italian post was appalling and to pack him a lot of sandwiches and a good book to read ...

 
At 10:00 AM, Blogger vrtlarica said...

I’m not that worried regarding food security and are we going to have enough food. I’m more worried about decrease of nutrients in vegetables and fruits, due to modern large-scale agriculture.

Regarding lack of fuel supplies - I believe that there are ways to replace fuel, but why to do this when it’s such a huge business?

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Gary Jen and Ruby said...

Hi Matron, good news, there's an award for you on our allotment blog. We hope you will accept it!

 
At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Lou said...

Greetings from the US. I'm all for growing as much of our own food as possible. On my 6,000 sq ft urban yard, I have 21 fruit trees, three raised beds of vegetables, and two other veggie growing plots. We just added a chicken coop, but don't have the hens yet. I've linked to your blog, and hope that you'll visit mine at http://grenlifeinsocal.wordpress.com.

 
At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Soilman said...

I'm a little obsessed by this topic, as you know, so I should probably sit in a dark room and think about something else. But it IS undeniable that the developed world is heading for something of a food crisis once the cheap oil is gone.

That it's not on anybody's radar, much, blows my mind; truth is, hardly anybody in urban Britain understands anything about where their food comes from, or what's needed to make it.

 
At 3:15 PM, Blogger VP said...

This subject's been troubling me a lot lately Matron. I couldn't help but respond to your great post (and Soilman's response over at his) over at mine...

 

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