I came across Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall‘s River Cottage TV cooking shows about a year ago. He moved out of London in his twenties to a village in Dorset as an experiment to see if he could grow his own food and thrive in the country. The experiment turned out well. Now in his fifties, he has several River Cottage TV series and several successful restaurants to his credit.
He creates luscious dishes out of top quality ingredients, many of which he grows and raises organically. He also wild-forages and uses intriguing ingredients from the local countryside and sea. He champions sustainable food on the individual and industry levels. He encourages people to grow their own food wherever they are, be it country or city.
Not long ago, Hugh started a non-profit organization called Landshare to make it possible for more city dwellers to grow their own food. Landshare connects people who want to grow food with people who have some land they’re willing to let others use, either for free, a share in the harvest, or for a nominal fee. There are over 70 thousand members in the UK (total population 63 million).
As a result, people have made beautiful gardens, raised good food, forged community ties, and have been eating more healthfully for less money. The taste of carrots, potatoes, corn, tomatoes and peas freshly picked from your garden is a revelation. They’re nothing like what you buy in the supermarket.
More recently and along the same lines, Hugh started Fruitshare. It’s a non-profit organization that gives free fruit trees to school children to plant on their school grounds. The kids care for, harvest, share, and eat the fruit. Fruitshare is crowdfunded by donations of any size from anyone who wants to support the program.
Canada has started a Landshare organization, called Landshare Canada. The U.S. has yet to start one, but many cities and towns have community gardens. A garden is surely a wonderful thing.
Tell us about your home or community garden. What do you grow?