Photo by  Matthew Lowell   

Photo by Matthew Lowell  

Never before have we been so far removed from our food. We hark back to our romantic agricultural past in ideals; yet facilitate these ideals by purchasing the ‘Farmers Market’ branded soup at our ‘local’ supermarket.

Food is no longer just a basic human need: it can be a social statement; entertainment in the form of foul-mouthed celebrity chefs; patented by corporations; forever in the media because of its intrinsic links with society’s infrastructure. As Carolyn Steel states in Hungry City, “Food shapes cities”1 but as they have progressed, our cities have turned their backs upon food production.

However it has not always been this way. In Britain and further afield, there have been situations where city dwellers have had to blur the division between town and country. These situations usually arise from desperation, war or simple enthusiasm for the cause. Here in present day Britain we are certainly not desperate and while we are seldom not at war, they are wars that fail to affect our day-to-day lives. Yet the enthusiasm for the cause of ‘Local Food’ is growing; it has become a discussion topic in popular culture, not just for the nonconformists, but currently still remains a choice for a select few.

In this dissertation I discussed the question of what knowledge we can glean from our past and present experiences with urban food production that could help us in a future where food security looks uncertain and self sufficiency may be the best response. I answered the questions of what situations have caused the need and want for urban farming in the past and whether these situations could arise again in modern day Britain.

For a copy of the full dissertation, please email me.