Nature, your offspring may have devoured all my French Beans had to offer, yes I fought a running battle with Squirrels to see who could obtain the most fruit (they won) and yes the soil and restraints I provided were weak, but I shall now take you head on and face you at your sternest; Winter.
I want to see how far I get. It might be a bold move, it might also be irrational but then there is potentially delicious, fresh produce at the end of it so I feel I have nothing to lose.
I’m going to throw in the following:
- Broad Beans (Super Aquadulce)
- Hardy lettuce (Arctic King)
- Purple sprouting broccoli
- Onions (Shakespeare)
- Garlic (Early Wight)
The most interesting bit is that I don’t really have a garden. I have a small section of raised bedding and an odd collection of pots and containers. But then I like a challenge.
This is the space in front of my house:
(I have many more containers now…)
And this is the rear raised section:
The resources I’m looking to are numerous and each profer a confident passion for year-round sustainability and self preservation. If only to avoid the homogeny of the high street as much as possible. Armed with my war-time rhetoric, my naivety and my hunger I will sally forth to see what my efforts can conjure.
Some great reading on the subject lives here:
- How to Grow Winter and Spring Vegetables http://bbc.in/n75JD2
- Top 10 vegetables to grow over winter - Telegraph http://tgr.ph/nDiqoZ
- Growing Winter Vegetables | iGrowVeg http://bit.ly/oUVzHI
- Hardy winter vegetables / Royal Horticultural Society http://bit.ly/qqMRtY
And no list would be complete without a Guardian post…
- Dan Pearson shows you how to grow winter veg | The Observer http://bit.ly/oaCE9f
Bring it on I say.
A statement of intent and a declaration of potential; there is a way out of this increasing problem of food shortages.
The current situation has never called louder for each person to do things for themselves. Putting together a few small pots and sticking them on windowsills around your flat or house will make a difference, that difference will mount if everyone in your street does the same - building a food resource that is very local, increasingly social and actually working as a carbon positive; what people do on this micro-agricultural level will reduce their carbon by locking in carbon as their plants grow. How can we stress how much this will do for the whole cause? We could put statistics up about carbon reduction, or we could quote climate change advocates but instead we just want to see the face of those that take these steps and taste their first exceedingly fresh Tomato/Beetroot/Strawberry/Courgette. This is where it matters. All the rest just falls into line beyond this.
The perfect situation of people being truly digitally enabled in a mass way, with the pressing necessity of self-provision combined with the social fragmentation that exists in developed nations (Alone Together, http://econ.st/lpAeMu) demands that now is the ideal time to actually do something, and do it on a mass scale.
The food crisis is surely a cause of individualistic western society: the inability to wait, the ignorance of seasonality and the lack to consideration beyond the 4 walls in which people reside. Can Connected Roots be the answer to this?
You look around and continually ask whether this will happen, whether people will accept this approach or be lost to consumerism because they have been breed on it. The constant refusal is put down to choice, quality and time required - all these elements are things that Connected Roots is set to begin eroding. The idea came from ways in which a facility could be created to speed up the homegrown movement but also make it accessible to even those with minute space to grow food. As people partake, they set their own choice and quality - time is something that Connected Roots will bring down considerably, allowing people to source food within their neighbourhood and build meals in a very short time.
I’m not going to bumble on about the reasons why we have food problems, suffice to say that there are problems and things need to change - bringing the ability to learn how to grow things in small, tight and often limited light, coupled with the ability to share anything you grow to be able to create entire meals - will change things drastically to taken up by the masses, hopefully CR can make this a reality.
Connected Roots will soon bring the growing opportunity to thousands of people who were unable to previously - each person will effectively have their own small section of a local community garden, working with their streets and postcodes to provide for themselves and each other.
This could get really exciting.
The link from this article talks about what we need to implement to achieve a sustainable food system, read more here
Cohesive urban collaboration, team-worked gardening, community gardening; in whatever guise it takes it has significant benefits for all those that take part and actually becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
Working and building a community garden becomes a success story as soon as people from diverse backgrounds come together to obtain and develop a piece of land beyond derelict, unconsidered waste land. Spotting this urban back spots and realising their potential, then having the conviction to do something with the space - that is the sucess story. Moreover, this is essentially what community is all about isn’t it; people doing something together for the benefit of all? I get tired of the ‘harmony’ and ‘togetherness’ that environmentalists eulogise about. Nobody turns up and hugs each other; they’re all there because they consider the gardening either important or/and satisfying. This is people working together for no other reason than to help achieve something.
I believe this has found resonance with contemporary urban living because it delivers the experience in a very defined and quantified way; people can see the perimeters of what their tasks are and the impact of their involvement is highly evident (i.e. when a neglected corner of a street is altered with gardening it is quickly obvious and the satisfaction clear). The diverse nature of modern city living forces people to come into contact with a lot of new cultures and personalities in a very short space of time - this can be rewarding very quickly, and its impact felt profoundly after only a short time.
A community garden, once initiated goes beyond those that take part in it, but it gives a small buzz to those who live nearby and those who commute past it, it lifts the local authorities because it takes pressure off them to deliver green spaces and to tidy derelict land and it gives those living in the wider community food for thought to develop their own project, sparking opportunism and creativity equally.
Our plan with with Connected Roots is to deliver this enriching concept into the back gardens of everyone who takes part, and instead of creating a community garden in a set location with spatial boundaries, rather to allow people to develop the same enjoyment and sense of belonging at home, using whatever space they have available - even if it is only a few windowsills. That investment can then be brought together and shared amongst all those that take part. It’s like taking your piece of the community garden home with you.
We’re building a conduit for people to reconnect with each other and the simple joy of growing food, but creating scalability to make the endeavour worthwhile.
Read about what they are doing in San Francisco and how it has had a wider impact than they thought
More to follow!