Dig for England – June 2008

Food prices are climbing fast, not only around the world but they will soon be felt in our own village shops.

This is mainly due to food shortages which are now critical in some parts of the world. This is a desperate situation for millions of people. There are many reasons but the three main ones seem to be overpopulation, a switch to greater consumption of meat in India and China which takes up more land per calorie then a vegetarian diet and finally the push, over the last 50 years, for the developing world to produce cash crops for selling to us in the west (avocados, bananas, exported rice, fruit and flowers to name but a few).

The last cause shows how totally unsustainable the policy is. How can the planet and the developing world cope with flowers being flown from Kenya to the UK when their own population is short on food?  Yes it brings some revenue to Kenya but at what cost. Is this sort of world trade progress?

One answer for us Wedmorians is to grow our own and buy local food whenever possible. Producing your own vegetables is such fun. It can be frustrating at times as well, my pathetic pea seedlings being testament to that! Everyone is having a go these days with the likes of Jamie Oliver leading the way. You only need such a small patch of land, even a square metre can produce a surprising amount of vegetables if managed well. The food tastes better and you can save money on your food bill and your gym membership.

The Wedmore Green Group still has a few ‘Is It Local’ cook books available, just come and see us at the Street Fair to purchase your precious copy. At only £2 each they are a bargain.

I don’t pretend to have the answer to the food price crisis in Africa, Asia and Latin America. I suspect it lies in a combination of population control, a reversal of urbanisation and a move towards a sustainable agrarian economy.

On a more cheerful note we have the grand opening and picnic at Terry’s Community Woodland on June 15th. Everyone is welcome. Come anytime from midday.