I have a confession to make: I’m on my knees thanks to a filthy new addiction: growing my own grub.
Every day I end up covered in organic soil from seeding, potting, planting out, digging in, uprooting, weeding, and going toe-to-toe with zombie-like slugs and death-from-above wood pigeons. And before you think I’ve lost the plot, I’m not the only one.
Urban farming is a dirty new trend taking root in London’s zone 2 neighbourhoods and beyond, thanks to projects like Landshare, which just launched this week. Landshare matches untended (or unwanted) gardens with garden-less growers.
Swapping Starbucks for PH soil tests
As a grower – I ran my first urban farming project last year – I’m all for it, and have signed up to assist less-able folks in their growing efforts. Plenty of people in my area are taking part, as East Dulwichians swap their Nars varnish for soil-caked fingernails, their Converse sneakers for Hunter wellies, and Starbucks for soil PH tests. There are a number of drivers behind this behaviour.
Trends like the slow food movement, the food miles debate, and the economic nosedive are convincing people to think differently when it comes to their scran. London needs 125 times its own area to provide the resources it consumes, so it’s no surprise people are taking matters into their own hands.
Some people are even calling for participatory landscaping with a greater sense of urgency than Landshare, an article on which features my highly experimental mutant carrot strain from last season. However, if you’re not convinced about turning London’s available spaces – from decked yards to vacant lots – into urban farms, then at least sharpen your secateurs for fashion’s sake.
Gardening as vandalism
If you need any more convincing that it’s hip to grow, then look no further than achingly hip sportswear brand, Adidas, whose guerrilla gardening project last year saw the brand ‘vandalise’ public spaces with flower power. What’s next I wonder – Banksy ditching his spray paint for mushroom spores to save the world?
Crossposted at my other blog.