Last year, a project was launched in London to transform the city by creating 2012 new food growing spaces by the end of 2012. Its an ambitious project which challenges urban planning initiatives and sets an tight time frame around delivery. And the best bit, the project worked! Capital Growth 2024 spaces into areas where food can be produced!! Outstanding!
There are many amazing aspects to this project. Not only did the group achieve its goal but check out the motivations for this project. The site references a range of concerns from food security, meeting citizen demand for access to more land for cultivation, limitations on the import/export market, Britain’s history of farming and a growing population. However the concern that caught my attention the most is the project wanted to address the growing problem of young people not viewing farming as a viable career.
In a survey conducted in 2005, around 57% of farmers in and around London were either approaching or over retirement age (i.e. aged over 55), and less than 1% were under 30 (about 14% in total being under the age of 44). Some of the main barriers to entry for enthusiastic younger people wanting to take up food growing are money, access to land, appropriate business support, training, and connection to strong and loyal market outlets for their food. This is one of the things that Capital Growth will seek to address – connecting enthusiastic food growers with land, skills and community, to help them establish thriving food businesses for the future.
I love it how this is taking ‘urban agriculture’ to a whole other level, no longer just a fad or fashion for the middle class. This project is saying, this problem won’t go away so lets train people and help make farming a viable business again. Amazing.