Today I visited the back yard of a rental property that I've been guerilla gardening for more than three years. The soil was manured, top dressed with bone meal, weeded, raked and ready to plant potatoes today. In my cold frame are climbing zucchini growing, ready to plant there in June.
I started this garden to use as a way to show young renters how their food is grown. One of them became a keen gardener and researched and traded recipes with me to use what was growing. At his behest, I planted the herb garden there.
The rhubarb I planted almost four years ago was sprouting last week, and the herb bed, currant bushes, raspberries and strawberries were looking good. I weeded the flower bed I established for the residents (lysimachia was up, as was the montbretia), talked with one of them about when they'd be able to help themselves to potatoes this year and went home.
When I arrived this week, I found a builder had dumped sewage contaminated soil and rubble all over the garden, killing the strawberries, several herb plants and burying the rhubarb and flower bed. He said he 'didn't see' anything growing there That means the residents (and myself) won't be able to have any vegetables this year and the fruit on the bushes will be too risky to eat.
So to rescue a bad situation, I'm going to put the whole area down to flax. That's about 5 times the amount I had intended to grow, but I can't see a better alternative. More linen for me this year!
It occurs to me that this is the type of situation that landless peasants face regularly. Random acts by landlords, willfull or ignorant destruction, our increasing number of extreme weather events caused by climate change, can mean they totally lose their food supply.
Luckily, I have a vegetable garden of my own at home and though the loss of all my hard work made me sit down amid the builder's rubble and cry, I shall continue to eat very well. Meanwile rich countries are buying up land in Third World countries and turfing off the traditional farmers http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/apr/27/international-land-deals-database-africa.
Please read the link. Canada is in the top 10 list of countries displacing peasant farmers to get ownership of foreign land http://landportal.info/landmatrix/get-the-idea?img=top-10-investor-countries. This is being done by our government with our complicity. Let's not say we 'didn't see' what was going on.