[diggers350] WW II Land Battle exhibition opens at Imperial War Museum

David Bangs dave.bangs at virgin.net
Sat Feb 13 01:37:36 GMT 2010

To be sure, Britain adapted to World War 2 food shortages, but at what horrendous cost to nature and historic landscapes ??...Huge areas of ancient heath, many, many commons, even village greens, old meadows, and huge tracts of downland were put under the plough. Huge areas of ancient woodland were clear-felled, ancient deer parks ploughed and timber felled in bulk, too, across the open, farmed landscape. Wildlife-rich marshes, fens and other wetlands were drained and ploughed, together with huge tracts of our town parks and other amenity areas. 

Be careful what you promote as models for our food security...

I am more and more anxious about the way the discourse about the conservation of biodioversity, which had to fight so hard over so many decades to reach even the most minimal statutory safeguards, public funding, and wider changes in public consciousness, is now risking getting trampled in the panic to adapt to the primary and secondary effects of climate change.

Down here my neighbouring Local Nature Reserve has just lost a great chunk to 100 newly reclaimed allotments despite the fact that the old LNR management plan prescribed the primacy of management for wildlife conservation. Great Green Bush-crickets, Dartford Warbler, Whitethroat, Dunnock and Stonechat will be the losers, whilst the local rag has headlines about 'breaking new ground' as though barren desert was being reclaimed.

We need more thought here. Instead of looking at 70 year old models, try looking at present reality. 

Just over the hills from here in both the Low and High Wealds you can pass across whole sub-landscapes - and sometimes almost entire parishes - and see not a single traditional food growing farm surviving...just amenity pastures, livery paddocks, mini (and major) new ornamental parks and vastly extended private gardens, new fishing lakes, biofuel crops, game cover crops, new polo grounds, golf courses, a huge re-wilding project, deer farms, new vineyards, and so on.

Not an honest food crop to be seen.

Down here (in Brighton) wildlifers and travellers and alternative food growing initiatives are forced into fierce competition over scarce morsels of open space or heritage ground, when whole sub-landscapes are disposed of unproductively and without public usage just over the hills to our north...

It's dead important and great fun growing your own vegetables, but I think alternative food growers are missing the target down here, and being used to squeeze threatened wildlife resources...just as, in the recent past wildlifers on my patch allowed themselves to be used as a stick to beat the equally legitimate claims of travellers for sites.

We need to be clear. The critical dangers we face from climate change must be fought in tandem with, and as part of, the wider class struggle against all the other ravages that capital makes on our lives, in terms of poverty and exploitation, and the madness of conspicuous consumption.

Forget growing food on our football pitches and nature reserves. Try growing food on the farms where it should be grown !! 

Dave Bangs

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Tony Gosling 
  To: diggers350 at yahoogroups.com 
  Sent: Friday, February 12, 2010 11:39 PM
  Subject: [diggers350] WW II Land Battle exhibition opens at Imperial War Museum

  The Ministry of Food examines how the British public adapted to food shortages during the Second World War, learning how to be both frugal and inventive on the �Kitchen Front�.

  Marking the seventieth anniversary of the introduction of food rationing in Britain, the exhibition shows that growing your own food, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables, reducing imports, recycling, and healthy nutrition were just as important in 1940 as they are today.

  The exhibition runs from 12 February 2010 � 3 January 2011.
  Sponsored by Company of Cooks


  Footage of families and children working on allotments during the Second
  World War, as is available for public viewing at The "Imperial" War
  Museum's new Ministry of Food exhibition, which opened today and runs until 3rd Janary 2011


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