Eastleigh residents could be faced with the prospect of no food in the shops and what little there is being prohibitively expensive – that is the stark warning given by local college lecturer and environmentalist Dr Andrew Ross who was speaking at a recent film night and discussion held by Eastleigh Transitions Network at the Point.
ETnet is a group of local people concerned about the affects of peak oil – the depletion of the fossil fuels on which society depends on for energy and food production
The group believes in direct action and after they became tired of waiting for Eastleigh Borough Council to find them an allotment started their own community farm at Highbridge near Allbrook, on land owned by Mr Henry Russell.
About 60 people watched the film show ‘A farm for the future’ in which film producer Rebecca Hoskings made the link between cheap oil and the cheap and plentiful food which we have enjoyed since the last war.
The film showed how oil is not only used to drive the labour saving machinery used in food production but is also utilised in the manufacture of pesticides and fertilisers which enable farmers to achieve bumper yields and in the packing, refrigeration and transport of produce.
Spiralling fuel prices at the pumps is accompanied by spiralling food prices in the shops and any shortage of oil results in shortage of food.
Over 100 local people now work the 1.7 acre plot at Highbridge and Dr. Ross told Eastleigh News how they had recently planted 500 fruit trees:
“We import 60% of our apples in this country yet South Hampshire has the best climate in the world for growing apples said Dr Ross – a two time Conservative Candidate for Eastleigh South.
At the moment about 1% of people in Eastleigh realise that we are going to have to learn how to grow our own food. The other 99% are going to wake up one day, fairly soon and find there is not enough food in the shops or else it is going to cost a bomb.
The problem of Peak oil is already upon us and there will be an oil shortage by 2013”
Several members of the audience, including Dr Ross, were critical of the lights that were burning in the Point in several unused, empty rooms.
Said one disgruntled environmentalist:
“How can the council say they are carbon neutral while this building is lit up like a Christmas tree?”
A farm for the future: