Inflation, Cost of Living Crisis, Food Scarcity: these infamous buzzwords, are enough to instil fear and hopelessness of the future into anyone, the problem is, when these words are repeated enough, we become desensitised to them, even start to ignore or even hide from them, especially when, in its’ usual way, the mainstream media tries to create a panic, rather than providing solutions to these problems.
We are currently globally experiencing the first two, but due to the privileges of western societies, only seeing some of the consequences of food shortages in our supermarkets, eg. when chicken flu led to egg shortages and chicken prices going up earlier this year. We also saw shelves empty of wheat products such as flour and pasta alongside many other household essentials during 2020 due to covid-19.
Frankly for me the latter of the buzzwords, Food Scarcity, terrifies me. And I no longer wish to hear of it, without it being followed by strategies to combat it.
Growing Power founded by Will Allen, an urban agriculture non-profit organisation, are pioneers in food security in urban communities in Milwaukee city in the USA.
There are thriving organisations who support this movement here in the UK, trying to create a sustainable, greener, and independent Britain. The Chicken Shed (our pilgrimage to sustainability) and Hockerton Housing Project, whose impressive work is being recognised by many globally.
These communities have proved it possible to play a leading role in supplying fresh produce to local restaurants, local markets and people who also get the opportunity to be empowered by learning valuable horticultural and urban agriculture skills, important in the provision of food security.
From studying the works of these organisations, I have dared to dream of a society which encourages and provides communities with the tools and skills to be self-sufficient and eco-friendly. Generating natural electricity through solar panels, wind power and human power (Energy Bike) and providing decent-sized communal gardens to nurse a variety of fruits and vegetables, which people can take and plant in their own private gardens and also grow and harvest as a community.
Although it may sound like a hippy activist’s dream, it’s just natural progression with the UK government proposing the Bill for all houses intended for new tenant use to at least have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating of C by 2025, we will need to move towards greener energy sources – thus generating our own energy, would be a great solution; in combatting food insecurity, we all need to become less dependant on supermarkets for our own food, not only to prevent food scarcity within our communities, but also to play a role in producing and consuming clean, quality foods, free from chemicals and genetic modification.
Admittedly the exact logistics would need a lot of ironing out, and questions such as ‘How would the produce be equally distributed’, ‘Who maintains the garden and ensures the success of the plants’ and ‘Who is willing to generate backup energy with the bikes and green gyms’ etc etc will have to be answered.
The only thing I can suggest in response to these questions is ….. to work as a community, truly.
I dare you to believe that a community like this, where local people fight against food scarcity and produce their own food and care for communal gardens together, finding ways to share equally to provide food security for all, can and will exist.
Nolene Amanda Dube
Nolene is a young entrepreneur with a degree from the University of Salford, based in the Midlands