7 Nov 2008
Has the great urban agriculture revolution already begun?
One of my favourite Transition Tales in the Transition Handbook was the one about Celebrity Love Allotment, in which aspiring starlet Letitia Lloyd emerged victorious from an allotment in Crouch End, having become a more proficient gardener than the other competitors. The article spoke of a planned followup series called ‘Pimp my Patio’. At the time it seemed absurd, but rapidly it is looking entirely plausable. Things are moving so quickly with regards to the demand for space to grow food and the whole idea of urban food growing that it sometimes defies belief.
I saw a short piece this morning on the BBC News programme with the presenters of Blue Peter discussing their new appeal, Mission Nutrition. When I was a little ‘un, the Blue Peter garden was a pretty unspectacular thing, full of sleeping tortoises in boxes and lots of pretty pointless plants. All that is a thing of the past. The Blue Peter garden of old is now history, it is coming out, and in is going a vegetable garden.
The idea is to get kids in the UK, Bangladesh, Colombia and South Africa growing food in their gardens, while at the same time the UK kids run Bring and Buy sales to raise money to provide daily meals for children in the non-UK schools through Save the Children, as well as setting up Breakfast Clubs in a number of schools here. It brings together ContinYou, the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens and Save the Children.
The same day, in the Guardian, Rosie Boycott, food activist and enthusiastic supporter of Transition initiatives, who recently became Boris Johnson’s ‘Food Czar’ announced her Capital Growth project, which aims to create 2012 food gardens across the city by 2012, the year of the London Olympics. She is quoted as saying “Capital Growth will identify spaces across the capital – often in surprising places such as roof gardens – and help London’s communities grow their own food.”
The Mayor’s office is initially putting £87,000 aside for the project, and is taking applications for a broad range of projects. I emailed Rosie to congratulate her, and in her reply she said that Capital Growth launched at 9.30am on Tuesday and by 10.30 ninety groups had signed up…. they had been hoping for fifty by next April!!
2012 new food gardens across London. The Blue Peter garden turned over to vegetables. What next? Hyde Park goes edible landscaping? The docks of Liverpool become filled with a flotilla of floating food-growing rafts? The UK Government introduces a Lawn Tax in order to stimulate food growing? Wny not? Our Letitia is rapidly not looking quite so extraordinary after all…