BBC’s Countryfile: “Allotments save the world”

Yeah, so OK, BBC1’s delicious, mostly youthful Countryfile didn’t actually say that the alleged world food crisis would be solved by British allotmenteers. But… 

John Craven’s investigations aren’t always all that investigative, but they are seldom as shallow as this week’s on solutions to the world’s “food crisis”. Firstly, the world looks very likely to produce enough food for 9bn humans, though it’ll be a tight squeeze as usual and there may be large issues of equity as the rich world shoves huge quantities of grain into its ungrateful animals whilst a poor minority look on in despair and anger (a situation which will owe a good deal to the useless nastiness of the governments of countries with lots of poor people). Secondly, (as the UK government’s DfID/DEFRA report on food published today says) it will be intensification – often by larger scale farming – which will produce tomorrow’s food.

Granted that Countryfile is  a charming show whose appeal is (in spite of itself) mostly to the respectable working class and the middle and upper classes, it is hardly shocking that it should handle the world food crisis as a matter of food inflation for a nice middle class family at a supermarket (was that a pair of champagne bottles in their basket?). But it was dotty then to switch to allotment-holders as a serious contender in fixing the problem. After all, and just for starters, the world food crisis is in large measure a shortage of grains: a few urbanites having a surplus of greens for a few weeks in the year hardly addresses that.

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Publication date

24 January 2011