Image courtesy of David Barrie
With the UK's chief scientist warming of a looming food crisis, and with consumers around the world changing their eating habits in the face of increasing prices, the need to find alternatives to our current food system becomes ever more pressing. TreeHugger is a big fan of urban food production and community gardening, so it's unsurprising that we were excited to read about ambitious efforts in the UK town of Middlesborough to turn public space into productive land:Middlesbrough borough council turned over parkland, town-centre planters and other landholdings for fruit and vegetable growing. The eight-month project culminated in a town meal outside the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, where up to 8,000 people shared meals from the food that had been grown.
This year, Middlesbrough plans to supply seeds and containers to anyone interested, and already has 2,000 individuals and groups lined up, including 31 out of 51 schools, with 280 growing sites. "This has caught people's imagination. But we've gone beyond novelty now and people want to make it a mainstream activity," says Ian Collingwood, a regeneration consultant at the council.
While high-tech food growing solutions like vertical farming, underground agriculture, and aquaponics may have great potential in meeting the challenge of feeding the world, we suspect that projects like this one that simply reconnect people with the skills to feed themselves will be at least as important as we navigate our way out of the era of cheap food.
::The Guardian::via site visit::