Archive for the ‘landshare’ Tag
The summer before last I commissioned the fresh, green loveliness we know as Landshare (www.landshare.net) from Keo Films and Mint Digital. It has now sprouted a verdant little app, currently featured on the App Store.
The Landshare website and campaign has sparked a nationwide revolution over the last year. It connects would-be growers of fruit and veg with people with land to share – and they share the produce.
There are currently 2 growers to every 1 plot offered and the new app is designed to enable the public to take action.
- Councils will be held to legal task to provide allotments according to their statuary obligations
- tens of thousands of acres of wasted, unproductive land around the UK is to be identified
The Landspotting function was an idea I originally came up with inspired by a long-empty plot at the end of my road, a wasted gap between the last house and a tyre workshop on the corner.
The app functionality includes:
- using the camera with geolocating technology
- giving users live access to expert growers for instant advice
- extending accessibility and full integration of tools with social networks
The Landshare App is free
The app also gives users direct, on-the-move access to the core Landshare tools – extending its ability to match growers to land, through a postcode driven map and listing database, and more. Already, Landshare has seen more than 3,000 acres of land offered and matches in every region of the UK.
It has been cited by the House of Lords, New Local Government Network, the international Wikinomics team and most recently – the Food Ethics Council – as changing the landscape in food accessibility and security.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall spearheads Landshare and says of the new App: “Landshare has always been, literally, a ground-breaking initiative but now it’s set to really push the agenda. We know there are 100,000 people on council waiting lists in England alone, with up to 40 year waits, plus a significant amount of waiting lists that are actually closed! This app will ensure that councils can no longer shut the door to their legal duty to provide.
Landshare has been at the forefront of the debate on land use and accessibility – it is no longer acceptable to say that the land is not available because most of us pass derelict land in our travels every day. By bringing attention to the scale of space that is already on our doorsteps with “LandSpot”, we hope to help enable this potential to be realised and for much more land to be made fertile.”
The Landshare app launched on Friday (6th August 2010) and can be downloaded free at www.landshare.net/iphoneapp
Users without iPhones can also make use of the new tools at www.landshare.net
Some Landshare facts & figures:
- Landshare is a movement of more than 50,000 people – and it’s growing daily.
- The idea came out of Channel 4’s River Cottage, when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall helped some Bristol families grow food on disused council land.
- More than 100,000 people are on waiting lists for local authority allotments in England.
- An estimated 16% of council waiting lists in England are closed.
- Despite having a legal duty to provide allotments, some 12% of councils do not know what the status of their waiting lists is.
- The Local Government Association reckon that 200,000 allotments have disappeared in the last 30 years
- 6 million people in Britain are estimated to be interested in an allotment.
- There is 60,000 acres of unused rooftop space in London alone.
- There is an estimated 80,000 acres of official derelict land in England.
- In Scotland, more than 44% of derelict land is in urban areas.
- Landshare addresses concern among policy makers about future food security and greenhouse gases from industrial farming and food miles.
- Landshare was recently cited in “Food Justice: The report of the Food and Fairness Inquiry” published July 2010
- It’s one of the best things I’ve commissioned at C4.
And the last word to a happy customer on the App Store: “this app literally changed my life”.
A colleague sent me over a link to the last Media Guardian podcast in which I made an unwitting appearance. Maggie Brown saw a speaking gig I did last week and said it made her realise that “there are some people there [at Channel 4] with real knowledge driving the 4iP fund which I hadn’t expected” – I was talking about my Landshare project which goes live tonight as soon as the DNS switches over from the old Registration site .
So that much was spot on ;-)
What The Guardian unfortunately failed to do with their careful fact checking and old school journalistic attention to detail was:
- get my name right – I was Tony Gee (an amalgamation with the next speaker who was Tony Ageh of the BBC)
- ascribe the project to the right source – not 4iP which is not behind Landshare but Channel 4 Cross-platform (since it is related to a primetime TV show, River Cottage)
- grasp the purpose of the site – not getting allotments but sharing land (the clue’s in the name)
- link it to the right partners – Royal Horticultural Society was singled out from a wide coalition including the National Trust, Garden Organic, Capital Growth et al, with no sense that Channel 4/Keo Films was the prime-mover
The thing that stands out for me about event where Maggie saw me speak (at the Voice of the Listener and Viewer, chaired by Roger Bolton) was a rather odd question I got at the end from a lady in the audience:
- Why did you use all that jargon?
- Sorry, hadn’t meant to, was really trying to avoid it, what did I say?
- Well what did you mean by “pipes”?
- Those things water flows through
- Well what about “ether”?
- Sort of airy
Still, it was lovely to appear in the Media Talk podcast, not least in that it squeezed out a begrudging recognition that we do some good stuff at Channel 4 in the networked media world. Now I love The Guardian as much as the next white, male, Oxbridge-educated, middle class person – my own flesh&blood works there on the Sports desk, the luverly Jemima Kiss writes great stuff in it, a nice gardening man in G2 wrote a double-page spread about Landshare and Veg Doctors in it today – but it does bug me that the highly respected organ spends a lot of time having a go at C4 without declaring its vested interest (including vested interests in terms of the Guardian/Scott Trust’s media ownership such as radio stations etc.) in the Channel’s future not being secured by the Powers That Be as we travel over the crossroads of digital switch-over – how it would love to be the counter-balance to the BBC in the public service media landscape. But when we ask ourselves whether Skins viewers read The Guardian over breakfast every morning? whether the Sex Education Show viewers turn to The Guardian for a chance to talk openly about sex education issues? whether The Guardian can do a Jamie’s Scool Dinners? we understand why Channel 4 has its place in the landscape and why people of all sorts dig it.
Here’s a rather salutary assessment of the economy from our Chairman here at Channel 4, Luke Johnson, in the FT. I have to say, it resonates for me – I’m pretty much a “a house is for living in” kinda guy.
For too long it has been more profitable in the west
to finance consumption rather than production.
That cannot continue. I am afraid that the west’s credibility
– and luck – has run out.
In the early days of Simple Pleasures 4 I began reflecting on what people really need, a stream of consciousness prompted by a Demos gathering which reminded me of a book which had really gotten me thinking – Coasting by Jonathan Raban.
Been meaning to get back to that post, Reflections on the Fundamentals of Life, for ages – nothing like a bit of financial meltdown to encourage thinking about the principles of economics.
So what did Coasting prompt? Looking back I seem to have re-invented Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs. Still, no harm working out stuff for yourself.
What struck me last week, the week of the US presidential inauguration, was that Britain is in desperate need of a bit of self-confidence. With the City fucked by its own petard and North Sea oil drying up we’re really going to have to work out where we add value to the world.
So we arrive on earth like the Terminator, naked and balled up as a package with the basic needs outlined in that earlier post. The economics of our existence start from the need to cover those basic needs by doing the equivalent amount of work or value adding. But those needs simply meet our bestial basics. As King Lear argues, we need something over and above that to make life worth living.
“O reason not the need! Our basest beggars
Are in the poorest thing superfluous.
Allow not nature more than nature needs,
Man’s life is cheap as beast’s.”
Watching Vicky Cristina Barcelona the other week, what constitutes that ‘something over’ has got really out of whack. The New York life-style portrayed in the movie (through Vicky’s impending marriage) was truly repellent.
The shift of emphasis from consumption to production and adding value could be the silver lining of these dark clouds. Is this the moment when we reflect and recognise what is true value and what matters? These are themes that have been on my mind over the last couple of years such as in this post prompted by a Buffalo Springfield classic.
The schadenfreude around the collapse of the banks, or more so, the bankers stems from the fact most of them don’t produce anything or add value – they guess and they gamble, they speculate and they risk, they continue to short-sell bank shares the moment the ban is lifted to profit as usual at other people’s expense.
Talking of profiting at other people’s expense, Luke’s article reminds me of a bafflement I had as a teenager about just how did the economies of the West and the rest fit together. How come American’s have those huge fridges and South-East Asians live in huts, scraping together a bit of meat to go with their bowl of rice? How come we get paid hundreds of pounds a day when for equal effort and more they get pence? How come poverty here comes with a 32″ telly? A good friend of mine lent me when we were teens a copy of a JK Galbraith book, The Nature of Mass Poverty I think it was, which I struggled with but didn’t ultimately come to grips with – I’d probably get on much better with it now as the interest is truly there.
Luke raises similar questions: So why should industrious Asians earn a tiny fraction of what citizens in the west earn? Especially when they have so much of the cash and productive resources, while we have deficits, high costs and poor demographics.
Now what I know about economics you can fit on the back of an ATM slip – hence this second stream of consciousness thinking out loud.
Around the JKG time I was also baffled by how can this constant growth add up? How can countries expect to grow year on year with finite resources? How can we expect pay rises as a given year on year? Doesn’t there come a point where no matter how clever you are about squeezing the most out of existing resources and in creating technology to increase productivity those two graph lines eventually run into each other and cross?
My gut feeling about this moment is that we must use it as a time to readjust our values, to refocus on what is really important. We must use it to refocus as a country and as individuals on what value we can add. Having said that, it was a bit depressing to see the reactions to falling oil prices – after a few weeks of people really thinking about the car journeys they were making, the headlines swiftly reverted to ‘Supermarket forecourt price wars!’
The next three commissions on my plan are Landshare, where people who want to grow their own food are linked to people who have bits of land which can be grown on; the Secret Millionaire online where the online community get to give a million pounds to community groups and small charities which quietly add value, largely unseen; and a project on Adoption that tries to highlight the value of each and every child and enable it to be realised fully. I feel they are the product of a particular positive, back-to-basics vibe. Despite the grimness of the IMF report which ranks Britain’s economy as the most adversely impacted this year of any major economy and the Lords scandal which ranks Britain’s high ranks as smelling as rank as it comes, I can’t help but feel there’s opportunity here…