GROW for Food Justice

Guest post by Janine Woodward – volunteer with Oxfam Bath

This winter, I decided to grow.

Not vertically (though being 5 foot 3 I could do with it) but agriculturally, growing my own food.

As a fan of The Good Life, the thought of ‘living off the land’ has always been a bit of a dream. So, when given the opportunity to create two vegetable beds in my partners back garden I jumped at the chance!

And this year, growing food has even more significance.

I recently visited Zambia with Oxfam. Many of the people I met were subsistence farmers. Their work is their land, and they rejoice if it provides them with enough food for their family. We take it for granted that we can visit a shop, at any time of day, and for a relatively small amount, choose a variety of foods to sustain us. And we can always put a little treat in the basket too – the odd chocolate bar or fancy bottle of wine.

The farmers I met didn’t have this luxury. Quite the reverse. Although few were among the 1 billion people who will go to bed tonight hungry, many were part of the 1 billion ‘hidden hungry’. Those who can just afford the food required to live, but lack essential nutrients from their diet, making them more vulnerable to illness & changes in food availability.

What I find difficult to stomach is the fact that at the same time, nearly 1 billion people are chronically obese. There is huge disparity between food availability and consumption for rich and poor. The reasons for this are many, and complex. But it’s quite clear is that the world food system is broken.

Now, growing a tiny quantity of food in my back garden is clearly not going to either fully sustain me or fix the system. But it does make me appreciate how fortunate I am. And thankfully, there is a bigger, better solution!

Oxfam have just launched the campaign GROW.

The aim of GROW is to help us understand why the world food system is broken, and what we can do as individuals and by coming together to fix it.

So, I’m going to carry on GROWing – both my vegetables, and the movement. And I hope you’ll join me!

Visit my blog at  Oxfam Bath to follow my growing adventures.

Photos by Janine Woodward

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