I now live in a village on the outskirts of Norwich which has been transformed within living memory from a place where most of the inhabitants worked on the land to one where most people work in offices. Fifty years ago nearly everyone would have had a traditional cottage garden where vegetables had pride of place, some people would have kept pigs, sheep and goats to graze the verges. There would have been fruit orchards and apples would have been stored for eating over winter. Now, vast amounts of space, time and energy is given over to the cultivation of grass. People even put precious fertilizer on the grass so that it grows more and has to be cut more often!
I can easily produce enough potatoes, leeks, parsnips, carrots, beetroot from an area about half the size of an allotment to make us self sufficient in these for most of the year. I use compost and manure from local animals to fertilize the ground. It makes me realize just how much food could be produced within most villages. There are signs that things are beginning to change, the village has increased the area of allotments under cultivation and there is now a waiting list. Followers of the Archers will be aware that Nigel Pargiter is planning to make some of his estate available as allotments; it may be a coincidence but a neighbour who has a vast area of grass, recently told me that he is also thinking of making some of his land available as allotments. At least it will cut his lawnmower fuel bill!