Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Food security in unindustrialised countries

We talk of peak oil, climate change and food security issues in the UK as almost passive issues. We know they're big issues, but don't really affect us in our daily lives - not yet, at least. To get a perspective from southern Africa, as featured on the BBC website, makes particularly interesting yet painful reading.

In Lesotho many farmers can't afford diesel for their tractors now and the curse of industrial agriculture has robbed the soil of its' fertility. It is also very vulnerable to climate change due to its elevation - and consequent short growing season. These factors spell bad news for people and, in particular, for the food production on which everyone depends.

So "keyhole gardening" has become an important Permaculture technique to improve families' food security. These are small and very intensive gardens that give a family a large proportion, or all, of its vegetable needs - and perhaps a surplus to generate a small income.

Whilst the harshness of the situation cannot be simply dismissed, this is a really good example of a community increasing its resilience in the face of adversity - and with very little money. Humans are resilient by nature and are survivors - this is heartening for the future.

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