Updated 14 April 2019
There has been a lot of talk recently about going back to a dig for victory campaign (UK) or victory gardens (US) as a way of combating high food prices, promoting food security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Looking at the history shows they had a big impact. By 1943, over a million tons of vegetables were being grown in gardens and allotments.
Why do it now? The answers is simple, this is from a US site: “Today our food travels an average of 1500 miles from farm to table. The process of planting, fertilizing, processing, packaging, and transporting our food uses a great deal of energy and contributes to the cause of global warming.” [www.revivevictorygarden.org/]
The UK is no different, food travels a long way to reach our tables and the international nature of the food supply chain means that we are all affected by shortages and high prices. Most of all, we are still an island nation and are vulnerable to disruptions in food supply. Some countries have already stopped exporting certain foods and although we can never be wholly self-sufficient we can have a much more resilient local food supply than the present total reliance on the supply chain.
So why aren’t national governments and local councils going all out to encourage and promote the new ‘dig for survival’? My view is that national government does not like the idea and does not want it promoted because it would upset food retailers, take food away from ‘the supply chain’ and so mess up world trade. In short, it takes control away from government so is considered far too revolutionary. They also do not want to admit that there is a problem.
What can we do? Do it anyway, grow our own food!
- Look for spaces in towns, cities and villages where food can be grown.
- Ask local councils to give land over for food growing even if it is only on a temporary basis.
- Badger you local council to provide allotments – you only need 6 people and they have to find the land.
- Make sure your local school starts a food garden and uses the produce in its kitchen.
- Make the provision of land an issue at local, regional and national elections.
- Write to your MP and MEP asking them for support.
- Lobby national gardening societies to get involved e.g. Garden Organic, The RHS, The soil Association.
- If you already grow food train and support others in your community to do the same.
- Encourage the use of container growing for those who cannot manage a garden or where no land is available see Making self-watering containers.
This really is absolutely crucial issue and one that needs raising now. Please do what you can and lets us know the results.