Melons for Middlesbrough

The Guardian reports on a remarkable urban farming initiative in Middlesbrough, England, where the idea has “kickstarted a local food revolution.” Middlesbrough is a poor, postindustrial town that isn’t interested in the sexiness of eating local. It’s interested in the practicality: Last year, 1,000 residents grew fruits and vegetables, and the government “turned over parkland, town-centre planters and other landholdings” to the project. The whole thing ended with a “town meal” attended by about 8,000 folks at the local modern art museum. This year Middlesbrough, which gives seeds and containers to anyone who asks, has more than 2,000 interested people and groups, including 31 of 51 schools, who will be planting on a breathtaking 280 sites.

UK vegetable prices have risen by 6 percent over the last year, and the Guardian talks to a professor of food policy at City University who says that the era of cheap food in Britain is over. Higher prices may prompt a reevaluation of the potential of derelict land: no longer wasted space, but possible bounty.

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