Vegetable plots.  Allotments.  Chickens.  Bees. 

There seems to be a new wave of hippy in our cities and suburbs – not so much about “beads, flowers, freedom, happiness”, as they sang in Hair, but more about self-sufficiency.  People who want to know where their food comes from and who, if they can, want to play a part in it. 

Here in the UK, local counsels have seen a surge of interest in allotments – divided plots that people rent from their local government so that they can grow fruit, veg, or flowers – with some counsels reporting waiting lists of up to a decade to get a plot.  Companies like Omlet are helping to bring farm animals into suburban gardens.  Beekeeping supplies are backlogged.

This week, both the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Telegraph had stories about this trend that I thought were worth passing along.  First, the WSJ talked about the “new generation of sharecroppers” – people who want the benefits of a kitchen garden without doing the work, so they sublet their gardens for a percentage of the crop.  A 19th century solution to fit our 21st century living arrangements.

The Telegraph compares the current self-sufficiency trend with a 1970s sit-com called The Good Life, in which our unlikely heroes remain in the London commuter belt, but try to live completely off the grid. 

I guess the question is – is this a trend?  Or is this a fundamental change in our lifestyle?  Are we missing our connection to the earth or are we just making this change in reaction to the turbulent economic climate?