We’ve already published a fair few posts about various aspects of food security, the need to localise food production and bring it under our control at the grassroots. Here’s a selection of them:
As we were saying… – 5.2.22
Seed banks – gaining control… – 3.2.22
You don’t need us to tell you that 2022 is going to be a major clusterf**k. Food prices were already rising as a result of the rapidly increasing cost of the inputs needed for large scale agriculture. These range from fertiliser to the gas needed to heat greenhouses. This was before the war in Ukraine kicked off. A war that could well spread and intensify. Ukraine and Russia are major wheat producers. A combination of sanctions against Russia and the scale of disruption caused by the Russian military incursion into Ukraine have the potential to seriously disrupt the supply of wheat and other agricultural products, sending the price of food soaring even further.
When we published the posts listed above, it’s not because localised food production is some cosy feelgood activity. Now shit is getting real, localising food production is what we have to do to avoid shortages and price hikes resulting from supply chain disruption and agricultural land being taken out of production as a result of war. Localising food production and bringing it under community control as far as is possible is the way we survive and get through what’s coming.
Some people may see the term ‘localising food production’ and think the answer is an intensification of agriculture – one that could only be facilitated by by-passing a fair number of environmental protections. The point is that with the price of inputs set to soar, such intensified agriculture would be uneconomic without a massive government subsidy. This is where we as citizen gardeners can play our part: Another reason to grow our own food:) – 1.2.22. Urban and suburban food production on allotments, in community gardens, in our backyards and even on guerilla gardened plots, if done right, can be very productive. Not only would it be under our control, because it would be genuinely localised, there would be none of the fiscal and environmental costs associated with transporting food over long distances.
You only have to look around any suburban environment and it soon becomes clear that there’s plenty of land that can be brought into community food production. All it takes is the application of goodwill, common sense, a ‘can do’ attitude and a strong sense of community solidarity and purpose. Even if you’re a flat dweller, you can look into using the grounds your block is in or going in with a nearby friend or relative with a garden they want turned over to growing food.
Given the febrile nature of the times we’re in, we would hesitate to characterise this kind of localised food growing as a ‘Dig For Victory’ initiative in the sense that term has traditionally been used. The last thing we want to do is feed into the worryingly growing level of war fever. However, we would use the term in the sense that it’s a) a victory over large scale and ultimately unsustainable agriculture b) it brings food production under our control and not that of the corporations and c) it’s a step towards building a better world in the shell of the dysfunctional and dystopian one we’re having to endure at the moment.