” Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he eats for a lifetime”

Chinese Proverb

The stark reality of our current economic system means we are encouraged to only eat for the day and leave all that ‘growing business’ to others. In fact, it is only because other people provide our food that any of us are free enough to go out and work in jobs that we might love….or perhaps hate. One way or another, the financial imperative and the fear of being without, drives many of us out of the house to do jobs that consume most of our waking hours in places devoid of nature, often devoid of personal reward, and almost always for money. As Joni Mitchell once said: “you give all your pretty years”…..and for what personal fulfilment?

Once the activity of many small households and farms, food production such as growing veg, raising chickens, milking cows, making cheese, baking bread has been mostly taken over by industrial processes. And the bottom line: profitability. If corporate food could have a strap line it would be “stack ’em high and flog ’em cheap”, oh, and don’t worry about the quality too much.

And yet the cost of food production is way higher than the mere monetary value of what we buy off the shelves. The food system is incredibly wasteful, dumping thousands of tonnes of food every year which has been overproduced by industrial processes: taste free food devoid of love, out of season, and, if processed, often laced with chemicals, salt and sugar, with much food criss crossing all over the world in international trade. In the meantime, people are left queuing at food banks and unable to buy food because they barely have enough money to pay the bills.

And it’s at this point of the senselessness of pursuing money above all other values that we find yet another extremely wasteful neglect of people’s inherent value: that is, there are jobs that could contribute substantially to our social fabric and there are people looking for work. The only thing missing is that magic ingredient: Money. Money seems to ignite the imagination while lack of it seems to ignite only fear. Our whole social infrastructure has trained us into working for money only to become helpless consumers who have lost the ability, along with our gardens, to think for ourselves and provide food for our families with our own hands when all else fails. Our culture has made maintaining a garden a nuisance: something you have to concrete over, astro turf, or put to lawn. And while the grass grows ever higher, people sit inside their homes on their gadgets, hypnotised by popular culture, while simultaneously sitting on a gold mine of opportunity if they did but know it.

Imagine, if all those people, who are looking for purpose, companionship, to keep the food bills down, to educate their children in nature, were to get together and grow veg in other people’s gardens! Sound radical? That’s exactly what Get Diggin’ It is about.

If we cut out the middle man – that imposter, money – and decide to work for ourselves in the hours that we have freely available, to return all kinds of benefits impossible to buy with money alone, how wealthy could we be? Would it be possible to measure wealth, not only in money, but on the return of our investment of time in things such as:

Assurance that your food is not contaminated
Healthy food that hasn’t criss crossed the planet to get here
Fitness and fresh air
Free food
Wellbeing – more vegetables and fruit in the diet
Learning how to grow food – from seed to the table
Friends and a Social life
Eating seasonally – (not food that has been shipped in from all over out of season)
Innovations in the kitchen – creative uses for gluts of food
Sense of purpose and usefulness and the ability to share
How wealthy would we be then? Try putting a price next to any of those items above.

The ethos of Get diggin’ It is to mobilise people to come together in community to grow food -together – in other people’s unused or abandoned gardens. We feed our householder, we feed ourselves, and we sell the rest to fund the project. We reduce, reuse, and recycle to make compost and build structures, inspiring our ‘diggers’ to innovate design with industrial and domestic waste. And even if you could never ever imagine yourself in the garden, we have other ways you can contribute: website design, social media and marketing. There is a place for all ages and all abilities to take part in the food revolution that is Get Diggin’ It. Contact me by phone 07773 919071 or email jlynn@getdigginit.co.uk and let’s get diggin’ it!

Jenny Lynn