Archive for the ‘politics of food’ Category

An Icelandic volcano about which we know little erupts and within days the newspapers are breathlessly reporting shortages of things we can mostly do without. I have got to 45 without a Kenyan sugar snap pea passing my lips.

Rosie Boycott (I suspect a lady with more time and money than most) tells us that our gardens can help when volcanoes and the fragility of international aviation conspire against us. I agree, but would rather not hear it from one of the media elite.


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The rent on No. 16 has gone up by a shocking 70-odd percent above the RPI. But since it’s gone from £4 to £7 a year I think we can stomach that. Looking at the price of fruit and veg in the Co-op this evening I think we’ll save that on our first crop of the year.

No so lucky are the residents of nearby Middlesbrough where the (presumably cash-strapped) Council tried to raise rents from £32 to £104 a year. Cue outrage. Mayor Ray Mallon has agreed to look at the rents afresh. Story here.

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Has made it into the Financial Times Westminster blog.  They are not impressed.

“The new food review by Defra promises much but offers little*. As far as I can make out, there is a lot of widescreen chin-stroking (sorry, moral leadership) about future food shortages and the need to get green but nothing remotely concrete – unless you count a new website “Food 2030″ for the public to write in with suggestions.

Instead we are left with loads of vague platitudes and some worthy suggestions.”

The article links to DEFRA’s document, which I’ll have a glance at.  Allotments and gardening made it onto Radio 5 Live’s Richard Bacon programme on Monday night (from 10 PM) which you can listen to on BBC iplayer.  Presenter Matthew Bannister got rather tiresome on the subject of sheds.  We allotmenting blokes only do it to hide into sheds to escape our womenfolk you see.  A line which may have been funny the first time it was used, but not the way Bannister flogged it.

UPDATE: I have read DEFRA’s document ‘One Year On’.  Possibly I missed it, but it appears that Britons who grow their own appear to have no role to play in future food security.  Possibly a cross-cutting stakeholdergroup is being considered, but nowhere did I see a line enouraging garden veg-growing and stating that allotment may have a modest role to play in providing food.

UPDATE2: the document has vanished. Your tax £s at work.

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Calves in Germany spontaneously bleeding to death.

Wave of the spade to Cryptogon.

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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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