Throwback Thursday: Rethinking Space for Food – April 6th 2013

Food is more than a necessity it’s a language that binds all the peoples of the world together at their basest level. Food gives us the opportunity to get together, to exchange ideas, to experience the pleasure of company. Yet, our current food system is under siege from environmental degradation, urban expansion and a growing population demanding ever more from ever less. This situation, however grim it sounds in the media, is not without the potential to change our habits to lessen our impacts.

There is nothing like the pleasure of picking your own vegetables from a patch that you have nurtured from the ground up (literally). There is also nothing like the taste of a home grown vegetable when matched up against its supermarket competitors. Unfortunately, the garden is not a place that everyone has access to or a place that everyone can work. Don’t exit this article just yet, just because you don’t have a garden does not mean your gardening dreams are over.

The first argument for getting into the home grown craze is that growing your own food is almost as good as printing your own money. This idea, at face value, sounds crazy but when you consider that one pack of tomato seeds could produce pounds of fruit for consumption it begins to make sense. Every single plant that matures and fruits is less money that has to go out in bills to give you fresh nutritious meals.

There are a couple of options available for those without the garden space for sprawling raised beds of green deliciousness. To my knowledge these are: Landshare programmes and the rapidly growing Apartment Farm movement.

The Landshare movement started in 2009 as part of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s documentary River Cottage and gives landless but keen people the ability to utilise unworked gardens to produce vegetables. The movement also allows people with unworked areas to offer them up for the landless. There are currently over 71,000 members on the Landshare network and their website gives in depth information on how to become a part (The Website is listed below).

Apartment farming can be as simple as a tray of salad leaves in a sunny spot on the windowsill which is low maintenance and quick growing. There are also more maintenance intensive and technologically advance methods such as Window Farms (a tower hydroponic system) that produce many times more than the simple system. That’s the thing with farming; everything you get out is related to what you put in both in effort and time. The Windowfarm system was also developed in 2009 as an open source project to develop an efficient and productive system of indoor hydroponics by utilising the ingenuity of an interested community. The Windowfarm website, though offering a hydroponic tower product, still maintain the DIY plans for a simple tower system that gives results. This system utilises plastic bottles, plumbing supplies, a pump and a little bit of hard work to give a cheap and productive system. More information on Windowfarm is listed below.

As I started, so will I end, food brings us together and through it we can bring our communities together. By getting young people involved with food from soil to plate they gain valuable skills in perseverance and commitment both highly desirable. If we are to change our food future then we must mould the future generation to respect food and where it comes from.

Not all who wander are lost – J R. R. Tolkien

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