Direct Action Gardening
Some people say that the most effective way to save the planet
is to farm our lands in an organic environmentally sensitive way.
We all know the infinite advantages of organically produced food,
but why spend a fortune on organic fruit and veg? Its often from
miles away, over packed, expensive, a bit manky by the time we
get it and in some areas only available from supermarkets. Who
wants to give their cash to Sainsbury's for spuds from Israel,
broccoli from Spain and carrots from Holland? Again and again
the message is simple - grow it yourself.
Producing your own food is a top buzz! Not only is it one of
the most direct and personally responsible forms of NVDA, but
it saves money (especially if you are growing more expensive or
rarer varieties), keeps you fit, reduces food miles to food inches,
tastes better, teaches you lots, and is a whole lot easier than
Professional gardeners and gardening books have done a lot to
portray food growing as something which only an experienced producer
with a hundred acres, and tons of machinery and biocides, should
even consider taking on. Small time growers are often poo-pooed
and people with no access to land often give up before they've
But there is so much that can be produced with minimum space:
mushrooms in the airing cupboard or on an old compost heap, endless
summer salads from just six or seven square feet, pots of jam
from just one mature currant bush, sprouted seeds from anywhere
you can fit a jam jar and huge tomatoes in the cab of a parked
up truck. Try not to get disheartened by lack of space. It is
quite incredible the yields that can be obtained from the tiniest
plot, or even urban balcony.
There are many opportunities to get access to land. If you live
in a town, you should be able to get an allotment. These are wonderful
places to meet other gardeners, swap plants and pick up tips.
These green oases are under constant threat from developers, so
having an allotment is one of the best ways of protecting their
Another option is to use other people's land. Ask to use a neighbours
abandoned garden, advertise for one, or even squat!
WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) is an ace scheme that
places people who want to garden or farm organically, both nationally
and internationally, on fix-it-yourself placements. Placements
can last from two days to years, usually for bed and board. A
brilliant way to travel and grow!
There are several books. 'The Permaculture Plot - a guide to
Permaculture in Britain', and 'The Organic Directory - your guide
to buying natural foods" which lists organic farms and small holdings
that take working visitors. Similarly 'Diggers and Dreamers -
a guide to Communal Living' lists intentional communities of varying
type, who may take visitors. Although these options are nowhere
near as the same as having your own garden they can offer experience.
contacts and a chance to get started
So even if you haven't got a garden. Go on get growing! Grow
some of your own healthy chemical free food, even collect your
own seed. Enjoy yourself and help to save the planet! Try it,
it's not hard!
- WWOOF tel: 01273 476 286
- National Society of Allotment Growers tel. 0153666576
- Permaculture Association tel: 01654 712 188
- Henry Doubleday Research Association tel 01203 303 517
- Soil Association tel: 0117 929 0661
- The Permaculture Plot - a guide to Permaculture in Britain
ISBN 1 85623 0104
- Diggers and Dreamers - a guide to Communal Living ISBN 0 951494546
- Organic Directory -your guide to natural foods ISBN 1 900322