Allotments, land rights and affordable food

This has also been published on Scottish Land Action Movement.

The law condemns the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But lets the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.

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Recent news that Edinburgh City Council are planning to increase the rental prices of allotments by an average of 105% – and up to 500% for some renters – has caused serious backlash from the city’s allotment owners. This news comes at the same time that new research has shown city allotment soils are far healthier and more productive than much of the United Kingdom’s depleted farmland. Globally, around 30% of the world’s arable land has now been abandoned as poor farming practices leave soils depleted of nutrients and exposed to the risk of erosion.

Food security is one of the most serious concerns we currently face: from depleted soils, to the threat of climate change, to corporate agricultural practices that force small farmers from their land and leave the global food system vulnerable to market fluctuations. With over half of the world’s population now residing in urban areas, food production in cities is an increasingly essential development if a population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050 is to be sufficiently nourished.

Continue reading Allotments, land rights and affordable food

Kinetic Knowledge

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Knowledge is more than text on a page. Whilst I cannot begin to quantify what I have learnt through the last three and a half years of higher education (and whilst I’m eternally thankfully for the fact that I have over a year left before I have to consider leaving the university environment), it is becoming increasingly clear to me that so much of my knowledge and understanding has not come from reading journals or sitting in lectures. In fact, my ability to grasp many concepts I have discussed in the classroom has come from knowledge gained far outside of the walls of the university.

One concept that I have been thinking a lot about recently is that of kinetic knowledge, which, taking various forms, relates to the sensuous and the experiential. Kinetic knowledge, I feel, is knowledge truly earned – knowledge gained directly relevant to time invested in a way that I find harder to measure when looking back on the secondary knowledge gained through reading. It is a sort of knowledge of paramount importance in the study of place, because it is knowledge that relates to an individual’s own relationship to a particular place. Continue reading Kinetic Knowledge