An interesting research project that you can help with run by researchers from the University of Sheffield. How self-sufficient are we? What contribution could own-growing make to our food supply?
Writing my book on Dig for Victory inevitably made me consider our food security today. Not that I think we’re going to have problems with German submarines again! But there are a number of realistic scenarios that could lead to food supply problems in the UK.
We know that home growers made a significant contribution to our food supplies in both world wars but exact figures are hard to find. Moving nearer to today, we know the Cubans found themselves with similar supply problems after the fall of the Soviet Union. They were effectively blockaded by the USA, lacking foreign currency and no longer supported by Russia.
Once again, figures are hard to come by. A friend who visited Cuba specifically to research how they coped with urban food production commented that he felt his questions were answered with the party line rather than the truth.
MYHarvest Diary project
So, when I heard about the MYHarvest Diary project, I was intrigued to say the least. Run from the University of Sheffield, this research project is a serious attempt to estimate the current and potential contribution of own-growing to food security in the UK
It’s a properly run, academic study which will provide hard information that the government will take into account. There’s a lot of pressure on allotments as cash-strapped councils see selling them off for development as a good option. Evidence supporting the case for food production in urban areas will hopefully have a positive impact on local and national policy.
Once the results are in the researchers will be able to calculate what fraction of the different crops eaten can be provided by home-growing. They can also compare growers’ fruit and vegetable consumption with the average UK diet. Useful when we’re suffering an obesity crisis on top of everything else.
You can help by keeping a diary of what you provide for yourself and what fruit and vegetables you buy from the shops. You’ll find more information and how to join in here: MYHarvest Diary project