Something interesting is going on. I heard today that one of the few parts of the economy seeing a flourishing of activity is garden centres. People are not, apparently, spending their Sundays buying decking, or ready-made trees, but great numbers of them are buying things called ‘seeds’ which, I learn, will grow if you plant them and will turn into ‘vegetables’ and ‘fruit’.
Nearby, Rosie Boycott, chair of London Food, is promoting a campaign to create 2,012 new allotments into use in London by, erm, 2012; while the National Trust, under the guidance of its chief executive Fiona Reynolds has begun a programme to make hundreds of acres of National Trust land available for the growing of food. The awesome Eden Trust has started promoting ‘The Big Lunch’, an event scheduled for July at which they are hoping millions of Britons will kick back for a few hours one Sunday lunchtime and cook and eat food that they grown and prepared themselves.
Is this just transient middle class ‘austerity chic’?
Or are we in the foothills of a more profound change, in which economic imperatives meet environmental needs to reveal the social and personal wonder of growing our own food, eating in the good company of others and discovering how lovely it is to unhook from the consumerist treadmill?
I’m going to see the Reverend Billy of The Church of Life After Shopping - http://www.revbilly.com/work - who has just arrived in the UK: I’m going to remind myself of the work of Neil Boorman - www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_ut93YYZu8 – who has been burning the brands for a while now; and I'm going to re-read Going Sane by Adam Phillips. Between them, these voices will help me decide. I'll report back shortly.