Self sufficiency – dream or reality?
So can Bristol feed itself? A study by NHS Bristol and Bristol city council, suggests that this may be a possibility if the surrounding rural area directly around Bristol is utilised. They say that the city alone could provide 16% of their vegetable needs but that the surrounding area in the south west has approx 800,000 hectares of useable land and Bristol would only need 200,000 of this. Further support of the idea that Bristol could feed itself is a much wider report by Simon Fairlie called “Can Britain Feed Itself?“. This report concludes that Britain can feed itself if a transformation occurs in agricultural practices, land use and food supply systems.
The road to self sufficiency
The problem is that many of us would like to start growing our own but just don’t have the land to do it. This is where technologies like the internet come in. The internet and its ability to link people together with common interests has proved useful for people who want to share land and those of us who would like to grow their own but have no land. Landshare is a pioneering website that connects growers and land owners so that otherwise unused land can be used productively to grow crops. It is a win win situation. Landowners see their land used (and most likely get a free turnip out of it now and again) and the growers get to grow. Other similar schemes have seen local people club together as a co-operative to buy otherwise expensive land and to grow as a community.
As oil prices continue to rise, and long term that’s the only way they can go, we shall see more and more people growing locally and hopefully see a renaissance in small scale British farming.