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Why Why Why

15-November-2016 8:32
in General
by Admin

What a difference two days make! £20,959!! Thanks to all the 77 backers - to donate money is one thing, to demonstrate community with strangers is another, but to put your trust in us is an awesome proposition. It is so heartening to know that strangers - and friends - can come together to share a dream of how things could, and probably should, be.

Market gardening used to be a visible and viable means of what these days would be called "generating employment." As well as supplying food of course, it provided employment, training and educational opportunities for people who lived in the vicinity. These days that would be called "local engagement" - or "empowering communities".

In the 70s the picture of UK farming changed with the advent of the common agricultural policy - or, as others have called it - neo-feudalism. The concept that if you simply happened to be a landowner the commoners (ie taxpayers) would pay for you to hold that land.

The CAP destroyed the industry of market gardening and small scale agriculture. At a stroke, market gardening ceased to exist and so did a whole industry.

As an industry moves through a landscape it does not leave behind schools, doctors surgeries, dentists, cinemas and shopping centres. Instead it leaves behind unemployment and all the attendant issues - lack of hope, low educational attainment or ambitions, substance misuse, antisocial behaviour, poor diet, diabetes, coronary heart disease, obesity, homelessness, mental ill health, sickness.

Unemployment has always created an underclass who could be considered commodities. In previous times they were sent to war. Now they live in a world of hopelessness, depression and referrals - a medicated population, treated and supported by local authorities and charities who cost far more to run than it would cost to sort out the root problem (to a large degree).

However, of course - if you had a large empowered “peasant” population - that could seem threatening to the status quo - the people that owned the land, the new feudal lords of the manor - the "aristocrats" of the business, media, security and political classes who probably have investments in the food industries who "feed" these people and the pharmaceutical industry that supplies "cures" for them.

We are where we are. The situation is as it is. But we can rebuild the food system - its really quite simple. I had NO EXPERIENCE of growing, NO MONEY and no friends (not because I'm unpleasant but because I left the UK in 1989 and only moved back in 2009) and I sold a quarter million pounds worth of produce this year and employed 11 people – 8 of whom are from challenging backgrounds. And this is only the 6th year.

With the help that we have gathered together through this process so far we can replicate much much faster than if we had to do it again with no friends or investors. The more people employed and inspired and connected to the land - our land - the more contentment, community empowerment (yes I know) and resilience for the all people and communities in both rural and urban landscapes. Plus, as they say "you get strawberries".