One of the biggest problems we will face in our increasingly oil scarce world is that of growing food. As I search for work I have recently started volunteering again with an urban agriculture project run by the Edinburgh Cyrenians in conjunction with other groups such as Transition Edinburgh South. The Cyrenians are charity that helps those suffering from “homelessness, poverty, deep unemployment, recovery from addiction and recidivism”. Since growing food is one way to aid mental health they run a number of small farms in or close to Edinburgh. A small group from the project I volunteer with that went to visit one of the other Cyrenian projects, a smallholding west of Edinburgh.
The pictures show what its possible to do with very poor land. The soil is a very heavy clay. We know since it was a working visit. A group of us did some digging in the main polytunnel which was very hard work! The only livestock kept (other than two cats) are chickens. The farm also has a large orchard with about 200 apple trees of many different varieties. They also grow Raspberries (made into jam) and a variety of salad crops as well as Brassicas. The food is sold through any local outlet that will take it. The project I’m involved with sells food it grows through two cafes as well as a stall at a farmers market, both run by the Cyrenians. Growing food within or close to cities is not the total answer to post oil food security, but is part of the solution. Some details on food can be found in our book