With waiting lists for London allotments spiralling into 6 years or more, the new report Growing Round the Houses, from food and farming charity, Sustain and the Women's Environmental Network, is very welcome. It advocates planning communal food growing into social housing and transforming unused estate ground into fertile kitchen gardens with huge growbags.
Which is a lovely idea, of course, as long as there's genuine community buy in, the local kids don't vandalise the carefully planted plot and local people have a sense of ownership so there's no quibbling over carrots come autumn. Encouragingly, successful existing examples are cited as models; Culpeper Community Garden in Islington and Brookwood Edible Garden in Southwark among others.
A BBC report looks to Vancouver where the city has pledged to create 2,010 new growing spaces to provide food for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. What a brilliant idea! If only we had such a major, international event approaching to kickstart such sustainable and innovative, community legacy plans.... oh, hang on a sec...
Growing your own food is an increasingly popular pragmatic step as well as an enjoyable past time, if land is available. Inspired by the Manor Garden Allotmenteers, we even got some tomato plants this year. They died fruitless, unfortunately, but the excitement aroused by the prospect of a homegrown harvest was undeniable and we'll be trying again. In the meantime, and coinciding with the Garden for a Living London campaign, look to your window boxes, balconies and roof gardens and start thinking the urban Good Life.