River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Reply to Peter Bodle

May 2010

Cyril suggests some flaws in Peter's arguments!

Dear Ray,

I would like to respond to Peter Bodle's two letters in the April Pump. Firstly to his blanket criticism of the article Our Food Our Future (I assume he meant the one in March on pages 61,62). He said that it "seemed so flawed a basic concept that it need hardly be responded to". He then "threw in as an aside" the comment that 80% of the UK population live in urban areas, and argued that these people "are not able to be part of this suggested lifestyle, even if they want to."

The history of allotments, in this country and elsewhere, is a fascinating one and shows the enormous interest and participation in them over the years by people in urban areas, people living in all kinds of town and city accommodation. Consider too the great food supply crisis during the 2nd World War, when basic foodstuffs were stringently rationed, and the 'Dig for Victory' campaign was launched. Millions upon millions of people took up the challenge, and had it not been for the vast quantities of food then grown in allotments and gardens, in town and country, the standard of nutrition in this country would have been vastly inferior to what was actually achieved.

It has been demonstrated that growing on a garden/allotment scale can produce a larger amount of produce, per amount of land used, than can be achieved on large-scale farming methods. Also, Peter's comment that conventional large scale farming is also more efficient in terms of energy and carbon footprint, can certainly be challenged. However, as Peter's arguments, noted above, were intended as 'an aside', I assume that he has other arguments to bring to bear. I would be interested to hear them.

With regard to Peter's comments on my article about the Egyptian 'out of season potatoes', I acknowledge his point about the water in the Saharan aquifer system. Taking his figure of 3,750 years, I agree that it would obviously be somewhat premature to imply a water resource problem there. Whether Jimmy Doherty, the presenter of the programme, actually intended a

scare mongering untruth I would not know. In my article I was mainly concerned about the facts contained in the programme, which illustrated the massive amount of unnecessary trade that goes on, with its associated huge carbon footprint.

Cyril Marsters

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