During the World Food Summit of 1996, food security was defined as “(When) all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.
An important thread running through both the DRH movement (of high schools preparing Development Instructors) and the Humana People to People Projects is the idea of Garden Farming.
So what is this Garden Farming? It is basically farming, but not necessarily on the scale that we have become used to seeing with farms ... and certainly not the monoculture, high input farming that has become more and more common.
There are 3 basics to be fulfilled in order to say that we are practicing Garden Farming: 1) we need to have an organic garden 2) we should grow at least 10 different crops and 3) we should be keeping some animals.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements states: "Organic agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved..."
At the College we are lucky to have a large area of grounds, including a walled garden in two sections and (to the envy of many friends and neighbours) a large, wood and glass greenhouse.
2 years ago we started by making raised beds in the small walled garden and trying out some vegetable and herb growing. Last year we added beds in one quarter of the large section of the walled garden. We also built a small chicken house, which currently houses 4 egg laying hens and a couple of roosters.
Good Garden Farming Links
Organic gardening: http://www.soilassociation.org/whatisorganic/organicfarming
Raised beds: http://www.raisedbedgardener.com/index.htm
Minimal tillage: http://www.sac.ac.uk/mainrep/pdfs/tn553minimumtillage.pdf
Conservation farming: http://www.gaia-movement.org/files/Booklet%2023e%20Conservation%20Farming.pdf
Transition hull: http://www.transitionhull.co.uk/