I’m involved in starting a community food garden in the area where I live. It started for me with letting myself feel the shock of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill earlier this year. Those scenes are the consequence of oil-dependence – all the easy oil is gone. What is left is ever harder to drill. I prayed a lot about what I could do. I grew a few drying beans in my back garden, and more root vegetables, so I can eat closer to home.
What does the Gospel call us to do in these times? Some friends were discussing Benedict’s monasticism as a response to the fall of the Roman Empire. What is our response to the end of the empire of oil?
Start a farm, grow food in the city, shortcut the global supply chains? I think God might be calling us to stop depending on oil-fuelled transport to feed us – and to stop robbing from the future by using the fossil fuels that cause climate change. We have formed a management committee, we have 27 members and we are now negotiating with the City Council to use a long-derelict sports field nearby. We are applying for grants towards setup. We have a business plan, crop lists, a budget, a schedule of work, and a site plan.
We think we could grow for five to ten other families as well as ourselves, so we are looking at selling vegetable boxes. Some local families who are involved with Transition Coventry have been looking for a grower to do a locally-grown food scheme, so we already have customers lining up. Please pray for us! It feels like a bold and necessary move, to discover how to feed ourselves without oil. What do you understand God is asking you to do, in response to the end of oil and the economic turmoil?
Alice Yaxley is one of the editors of QuakerQuaker.org, and is one of the trainers for Woodbrooke’s ‘Good Lives’ work delivering the ‘Imagining a world without oil’ workshop. She is on the management committee of Canley Food Project.