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Archive for February, 2009

For god’s sake. I like George Monbiot’s writings, he sticks it to most of the right people in most of the right areas, but this is just twaddle: Why you’ll never find execution or eviction on a National Trust tea towel.

In few: the National Trust is to be congratulated on carving out some of its land to make 1000 new allotments.  It is to be execrated for not bringing to the attention of the masses the fact that the British have some dodgy backstory, large areas of common land were enclosed in the 1800s by profiteering landlords, a fact of which many Brits are not aware and the National Trust is doing nothing to remedy on its merchanizing.  Therefore…

Allotments have been used as a sop to the dispossessed for at least four centuries. The General Enclosure Act of 1845 took 615,000 acres from the poor and gave them 2,200 acres of allotments in return. Just because we love and value allotments, it should not stop us from seeing that they also represent paternalistic tokenism.

Bilge, George.  What is token and paternalistic about local allotment socities letting people like us take a piece of land for £4 a year and hold a finger up to the man by growing our own?  18 months from now we’ll be pretty close to self sufficient in veg, beans and salad.   We do this stuff because we choose to, not because the patriarchy tells us to. And an allotment is just about the right size for a part-time enthusiast to manage.  Any bigger and we’re back to subsistance farming.

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Because global food production is falling. Read it, weep and be thankful if you live in a temperate country with decent soil and rainfall.

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and she rocks.  She gets it, unlike the recent sneering bilgefest in the Observer’s daily sister paper The Guardian.  Carole is on the local council’s allotment waiting list.  In her own words…

I’m delighted to report that I’m 871 on my council’s
allotment list. In 2008, 18 plots came up, so it’s just a matter of
sitting out the next 48 years. It’s good to have something to look
forward to and, as long as I don’t do something premature, like die,
I’m sure that taking up heavy digging in my 80s will be most rewarding.

Putting land into food production, reducing the number of Londoners making high-carbon demands on the food supply chain and packaging industry would be a worthwhile thing to do, I’d have thought.  Especially in a place like London where all the food has to be flown, shipped and trucked in.  That is one fragile supply chain and a vulnerable city that is two missed meals away from anarchy.  I’d give Carole and the other 870 would be allotmonauts some land.  Fast.

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Bobbins.

Shambled to allotment, opened shed to get tools, a gust of Yorkshire’s finest wind whisted in and blew out the far wall.

I was getting round to it, honest....

I was getting round to it, honest....

Now go an admire the folks at Grow Our Own and be envious of the fruit arch.  Their allotment is so neat and organized.  Frames, raised beds.  I feel pure ashamed of my enthusiastic but wobbly edged creations….

Allotment at close of play today.

Allotment at close of play today.

A communicative allotmonaut from the far side of the plot came across and issued fulsome congrats on taming the jungle that was 16 and has offered a book to help in this first year’s endeavours.   We talked sweetcorn and tendency to go crazed and want ever more land.  A next allotment but one neoughbour has taken on three whole allotments.  “I know she’s a veggie, but there’s a limit to how much you can eat,” he said.

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Today.

A good sesh tomorrow and we’ll be done, all the ground broken we need for this year.

OK, it doesn't look very exciting but I'm proud.  The wilderness is almost tamed.

OK, it doesn't look very exciting but I'm proud. The wilderness is almost tamed.

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There is less shit in this pile than her article.

Excrement is free, and sometimes published in newspapers.

Excrement is free, and sometimes published in newspapers.

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where people are doing it right.  It’s a crie de cuisine called Respecting food, respecting ourselves, or put down that hot pocket before you regret it, about a place called the Polyface Farm.

A thoroughly good and uplifting read.  (Ta Karen, who is sound on food, and Malbec.)

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