The Government is so keen for us to Grow Our Own that we are to be encouraged to grow vegetables in skips, according to an article by Louise Gray in the Daily Telegraph yesterday.
The idea is that the Government will set up a national “land bank” so that you and I can find the nearest piece of public or private land available to start sowing and reaping. Land would be available at hospitals, car parks, schools and on development sites where food could be grown in skips and moved about, presumably as the housing estates go up around them.
Am I the only one that thinks there’s something odd going on? Anyone would think there was a war on. Are we expecting one? Indeed, John Denham, the Communities Secretary, likened the plans to the wartime Dig for Victory campaign. Does the Government know something we don’t?
Well, if they do, there’s not a lot of joined-up thinking going on. While skips are being earmarked for tomatoes as we speak, the Fortis Green Community Allotments in north London are fighting for survival. They have until 31st March to raise £30,000.
The land belongs to Thames Water and is surplus to requirements. The company said it would be sold as allotments, but were found to be showing prospective buyers sketches with flats, houses and parking for fifty cars. Thames Water have now been persuaded to sell part of the land to the Trust, so long as they raise the money.
So far it’s looking good. The Trust is halfway there and has the backing of celebrities and local government. You can donate onsite, sign an e-petition or buy a print of the attractive Allotment Summer by Sarah McMenemy.
But if the Government is really so keen on our Growing Our Own, instead of playing around with skips, why doesn’t it debate a law to prevent allotments being sold from under the feet of allotmenteers?
Or would that mean the Government would have to stand up to big business?