Can Cardiff Feed Itself?

Posted on November 13, 2011

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On Monday 21 November an event at Dempsey’s in the city centre will be exploring how and if we can produce enough food to feed Cardiff.

Organised by Post Peak Oil Discussion (P-POD), a group affiliated with Cardiff Transition, the event will be presented by Pat Gregory, Rob Miller and Sue Ansell and Michele Fitzsimmons and will be a mixture of research and discussion with the audience.Riverside Allotments

“There’s lots of little sporadic things going in in Cardiff,” says Michele Fitzsimmons of Edible Landscaping. “There’s more community gardens than there used to be, huge amounts of people wanting allotments and there is the potential to put pressure on councils to allow more allotments to happen.

“There’s more people growing in general across the UK in their own gardens. In 2008 the sale of vegetable seeds outstripped the sale of flower seeds for the first time since the war, and that continues to be the case. The second world war Dig For Victory Campaign is the nearest comparison we have to people taking it seriously to grown their own food. But we can’t be laid back and make too many assumptions that it will all be hunky dory because more people are doing it.

She says urban wasteland could be one area to produce more food in Cardiff. “There is a lot of land not being utilized in urban areas like big wide verges at the side of the road before we need to start growing sweetcorn in Bute Park.”

The event will also explore research by Amber Wheeler of Glamorgan University, WWF’s Livewell 2020 campaign and P-POD themselves on what kind of a diet would be more sustainable for Cardiff’s future. “For the first time there is a formula for a balanced diet that’s healthy and reduces greenhouse gas emissions”, says Michele.

In the future we will need to consider the crops we grow and where we grow them. “We produce a lot of sheep which are a big export product for Wales, a cash crop for Wales in a way, but it’s restricted to meat production. We can think about doing things like drinking sheep milk,” says Michele.

“There’s not huge areas of flat, fertile land in Wales. A large part of the land isn’t suitable for most foods we eat like grains and vegetables. It’s important to re-look at our diets, for example we eat too much meat and dairy which are high energy intensive foods.”

Other important issues being raised by P-POD member Sue Ansell are to do with how we can make better use of human manure in supplying the fertility needs of an increased local food production. Pat Gregory will look at the working conditions on farms; as more and more people are needed to provide labour, how will we ensure good conditions and fair wages?

To explore these questions at more head along to Can Cardiff Feed Itself on Monday 21 November 2011 at Dempsey’s, opposite Cardiff Castle. 7-9.30pm. £2 entry.

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