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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 14 August 2008
We need to produce more of our own food

• NONE of us can ignore the rising cost of energy and food.
But most of us, especially our politicians, seem to prefer to ignore the reasons why. Oil is running out, we are at or near the peak of global production. Yet demand for oil continues to rise. That’s why oil hit an all-time high of $147 per barrel last month and why it’ expected to rise much further.
Everything, really everything, you see around you is based on cheap oil. Our food depends on cheap oil. Fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, combine harvesters, transport, packaging, refrigeration; they all depend on cheap oil. Without cheap oil our food supply is in trouble. The only solution is for us to cut our dependency on oil.
In London we are particularly vulnerable because we produce none of our own food or energy. If supply lines break down we will literally starve. We need to produce more of our own food locally.
In the past few months I have seen many inspiring examples of urban agriculture. Last year in Middlesbrough more than 1,000 people took part in a food-growing experiment culminating in a town meal for 6,000. In Shoreditch a scrap of unused land on a housing estate has been turned into mini-allotments. In Paris I have seen rhubarb growing alongside the municipal roses.
As of last month Camden Council has a policy of encouraging food growing across the borough.
Every window sill, every garden, every unused plot of land, every rooftop, every pointless hard surface should be used for growing food. We cannot produce all of our food in Camden but we can produce some and we can reduce our food bills in the process.
In my ward, Belsize, I would like to see apple trees planted in the green spaces of the Fellows Road estate. I would also like to see gro-bags and raised beds installed on the hard surfaces around the Chalcot Towers.
There are so many opportunities on our estates where we have more than twice as much potentially green space as we do in our parks and open spaces.
And there is a 12-year waiting list for allotments. People want to grow food so let’s get on and help them.
Camden Eco Champion

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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