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Dig for Victory

Return to the Good Life is the solution to the food crisis - Telegraph

Tim Lang, professor of food policy at City University, "If you depend on Tesco or Sainsbury's or Waitrose, you are a consumer. In other words your food supply is under their control. But if you garden and can grow at least some food to eat, however little, then you are injecting a little food democracy into your food supplies and asserting your food citizenship." .."A global food crisis is looming. This crisis can be solved by the democratisation of gardening - opening up and encouraging everyone to grow their own produce where possible in their own back garden or local community - changing thinking from food miles to food metres." ..."There is a moral quotient. Anyone that thinks we can continue to get our food from places like Kenya and Murcia in Spain that are suffering massive water shortages needs their head examined," he said.

Put me first in line for the examination, he really doesn't get the idea that consumers boss supermarkets round, not that they are helpless pawns does he. "Food citizenship" "democracy of food supply" - utter tosh, but phrases I fear we will hear more of.

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"This crisis can be solved by the democratisation of gardening.."

I presume this is why Tim Lang is 'professor of food policy' at City University, rather than something more grand, such as a Professor of English at Cambridge....?

How much gardening, I wonder, does the august professor of food policy do himself? I'll bet he doesn't make his own wine from grapes he's grown on his own land and trodden himself. I'll wager he buys it from Tesco, or Waitrose or Sainsbury's, or wherever.

As anyone who has been through the system knows, it's a mistake to assume that the ability to produce a certain quantity of work within a certain timespan and to a certain standard is proof of above average intelligence. I learned much in my time at university but the most important lesson after learning that I know very little was that academics are often surprisingly stupid. Quite apart from the fact that my fingers are definitely not green enough to feed me and those I love I haven't the space to grow more than a few herbs in a window box and could not grow many of the vegetables I like to eat in the climate zone in which I live without a high carbon footprint hothouse, even had I the land on which to do so. I was in Tesco earlier and there was no one forcing anyone else to buy anything. The other shoppers were, like Mrs Gruff and me, taking advantage of the 24 hour opening and the range of products offered.

I'm sure his views go down well with his post-graduate female students.

"..the most important lesson after learning that I know very little was that academics are often surprisingly stupid..."


But I'm sure they're right on the ball when putting in for a new grant to study food mile issues in the Seychelles..

If you depend on Tesco or Sainsbury's or Waitrose, you are a consumer. In other words you are helping keep thousands of your fellow UK citizens in work, spreading wealth to "underdeveloped" nations rather than insisting all development is bad, and even (alas) paying monies into government coffers.

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