I get regular updates on the state of the world from Beyond the First World, and the latest from Oxfam on Hunger in India set me thinking.

There are deep contradictions in the report. The people who are going to bed hungry are often the ones who work on the land, and the suicide rate in farmers is outrageous. Yet India produces enough food to feed itself.

Some time ago I set up a Rural Inventors Club, which ran for about 5 years. That club was mainly about helping people who were potential entrepreneurs living in the rural environment, it was to help the resilience of the rural community not directly aimed at inventing for rural food produce. But I have wondered about the idea of setting up a Grow Your Own inventors club, for people who want to grow their own but don’t have time or money to do it inefficiently.

So the idea would be to ‘invent’ the most productive, but simple and cheap growing processes for growing indoors and in small to medium sized gardens.

For me this would have to be a systems approach, which needs groups of people not lone inventors (though at times they can be brilliant). It would be a way of saying, well, within this space with these resources these are the most time and money cost effective growing processes and kits.

It has always struck me as odd that the garden shed and greenhouse seem way out of proportion in size compared to the actual growing area. I seem to need 35 different pieces of garden tools, half a tonne of pots, tubs, poles, wire, mesh, and shelves and drawers which look like they could be enough to feed the country, not one household. There has to be a better way. I mean, look at this. Enough equipment to build an empire!

And, if we did this, I mean, started running Grow your Own Food Inventors Clubs, (GOFICS sounds like Go Fix!) with some general principles in mind, like water and soil and nutrient conservation, in mind, then it may be that some of the ideas could be useful to the Indian Farmers who perhaps could grow more, be more happy and not be hungry? Is this too optimistic?

Let me know.


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