Food security in the Anthropocene

Shonil Bhagwat

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Robert and Didi’s allotment garden plot in Kirtlington, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Allotment or community gardens (like the one pictured above) are a common feature of many European townships. In the United Kingdom, these are collections of small plots that can be rented for a small fee by individuals to grow food. Mostly cultivated by hobby gardeners, these patches are sites of experimentation with a variety of crops – many more varieties than a conventional, commercial farm would dare to grow! Allotments are wonderful spaces of ‘agrobiodiversity’- the sheer diversity of food crops including leafy and root vegetables, fruits and occasionally cereal grains. On the day the above picture was taken, we harvested a unique variety of curly lettuce on Robert and Didi’s allotment and made delicious salad out of it.  There are other vegetables, raspberries and even a small vineyard on the plot – an impressive variety of species on a tiny piece of land in a semi-rural corner of England! Most allotment…

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