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SchNEWS - the free weekly direct action newsheet produced in Brighton, UK, since 1994 covering environmental and social issues, direct action protests and campaigns, both UK and abroad. For this week's issue, party & protest events listing, free SchMOVIES, archive and more click here

Direct Action Gardening

Some people say that the most effective way to save the planet is to farm our lands in an organic environmentally sensitive way. We all know the infinite advantages of organically produced food, but why spend a fortune on organic fruit and veg? Its often from miles away, over packed, expensive, a bit manky by the time we get it and in some areas only available from supermarkets. Who wants to give their cash to Sainsbury's for spuds from Israel, broccoli from Spain and carrots from Holland? Again and again the message is simple - grow it yourself.

Producing your own food is a top buzz! Not only is it one of the most direct and personally responsible forms of NVDA, but it saves money (especially if you are growing more expensive or rarer varieties), keeps you fit, reduces food miles to food inches, tastes better, teaches you lots, and is a whole lot easier than people think.


Professional gardeners and gardening books have done a lot to portray food growing as something which only an experienced producer with a hundred acres, and tons of machinery and biocides, should even consider taking on. Small time growers are often poo-pooed and people with no access to land often give up before they've started.

But there is so much that can be produced with minimum space: mushrooms in the airing cupboard or on an old compost heap, endless summer salads from just six or seven square feet, pots of jam from just one mature currant bush, sprouted seeds from anywhere you can fit a jam jar and huge tomatoes in the cab of a parked up truck. Try not to get disheartened by lack of space. It is quite incredible the yields that can be obtained from the tiniest plot, or even urban balcony.

There are many opportunities to get access to land. If you live in a town, you should be able to get an allotment. These are wonderful places to meet other gardeners, swap plants and pick up tips. These green oases are under constant threat from developers, so having an allotment is one of the best ways of protecting their survival.

Another option is to use other people's land. Ask to use a neighbours abandoned garden, advertise for one, or even squat!

WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) is an ace scheme that places people who want to garden or farm organically, both nationally and internationally, on fix-it-yourself placements. Placements can last from two days to years, usually for bed and board. A brilliant way to travel and grow!


There are several books. 'The Permaculture Plot - a guide to Permaculture in Britain', and 'The Organic Directory - your guide to buying natural foods" which lists organic farms and small holdings that take working visitors. Similarly 'Diggers and Dreamers - a guide to Communal Living' lists intentional communities of varying type, who may take visitors. Although these options are nowhere near as the same as having your own garden they can offer experience. contacts and a chance to get started

So even if you haven't got a garden. Go on get growing! Grow some of your own healthy chemical free food, even collect your own seed. Enjoy yourself and help to save the planet! Try it, it's not hard!

  • WWOOF tel: 01273 476 286
  • National Society of Allotment Growers tel. 0153666576
  • Permaculture Association tel: 01654 712 188
  • Henry Doubleday Research Association tel 01203 303 517
  • Soil Association tel: 0117 929 0661
  • The Permaculture Plot - a guide to Permaculture in Britain ISBN 1 85623 0104
  • Diggers and Dreamers - a guide to Communal Living ISBN 0 951494546
  • Organic Directory -your guide to natural foods ISBN 1 900322 03

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