chapter  10
18 Pages

10EARTHWORKS

In the parched and broiling summer of 1976, a score of unemployed teenagers laid siege to a rubble-strewn and bramble-infested acre of land next to a steep railway embankment in the St Werburgh’s district of Bristol, half a mile from the city centre. Starting work at 6 a.m., to avoid the worst of the heat, the teenagers dug up half a ton of roots from ironhard ground, carted away 5,000 bottles, hacked down enough scrub, grass and bramble to produce ten tons of compost, drew off 600 gallons of water from a small stream nearby, and put up a strained-wire fence. Finally the land was ready to produce food: there were twenty-one plots in all, occupied by members of the newly formed local allotments association. The job had taken three months.