You’ll have to stick with me on this one – serendipity piled upon serendipity, and it keeps happening.
You may know we have turned our front garden into a food plot – loads of runner beans and chard leaves, some tomatoes, carrots and beetroot, as well as rhubarb earlier on. More to come I hope.
Sunday morning was sunny and Jackie had gone to London so I decided to explore Hollingbury and Patcham by twittens. The idea had occurred to me whilst looking at the Open Eco-Houses website – one house directed users to a Council website mapping feature which is great – you can zoom in to the equivalent of 1:2500 sheets, or even 1:1250, every garden shown.
I’ll tell you about the walk anothr time, but the garden thing got me thinking about growing food, and wondering how many people do it at home. Later that evening I picked the top volume off a heap of books awaiting attention – it was ‘Land Use and Living Space’ by Robin Best (Methuen 1981), and explored the threat seen then that we might concrete over much of rural Britain. He dealt with that swiftly, as he should – only about 12% of the country was built at that time, and there seemed little danger that much more than 15% could be covered by 2000. As it has proved. But he did discuss gardens as a space for growing food, mentioning work done jointly by Ministries of Food and Housinglooking at Council Housing in Hull, York, Southampton, Doncaster and Bristol. The work showed that bigger gardens had more land dedicated to food growing. Best goes on to suggest that the trend to smaller gardens might be bad, as food growing may be lost. In 1944 he notes that 66% of houses had gardens and 45% of them were growing food – reported to be 10% of UK food production, in an answer to a Parliamentary question.
My thought is that food growing is big again – high demand for allotments and healthy food stuff, including demonstration gardens popping up in parks (one recently created in Saunders Park, just off Lewes Road near here). Has anyone been looking at food production in gardens? Then this morning The Argus has pictures of urban food plots in Havana and London, from a new display at Brighton Station.
I may have to register for another Masters at this rate – looks like a really interesting project. Meanwhile a recent dinner: