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PaulS's picture

Can Cornwall feed itself?

Rob Hopkins has announced the publication of a report entitled ‘Can Totnes and District Feed Itself?’

and says:

We are delighted, after many months of work, to finally announce the release of a major piece of groundbreaking research developed by Transition Town Totnes, Transition Network and Geofutures, with support from Landshare, entitled ‘Can Totnes and District Feed Itself: exploring the practicalities of food relocalisation’. You can download the paper here. The report is a key part of the Totnes EDAP, taking Simon Fairlie’s Can Britain Feed Itself paper and applying it to Totnes and District. Such studies are starting to emerge in different places, Stroud have done one, Sustainable Frome (a Transition initiative) have started using GoogleMaps for food mapping, and Transition Norwich have done a ‘Can Norwich Feed Itself?’ study using a different methodology (which I will post when I have a link). This Totnes study is, we think, the most comprehensive look at this question thus far, and is the first step in developing a national project and tool around the ‘Can Britain Feed Itself’ question.
Although the answer in the paper to its own question is: 'Ultimately it could turn out that Totnes and District can feed itself, and could be healthier, wealthier and wiser for having done so.', that is a little narrow viewpoint, because as soon as you include any of the larger towns around Totness, the answer comes back quite emphatically, no you can not. (Comment on Transition website: ...Totnes is located near other cities, such as Torbay (population: 134?200) and Plymouth (population: 250?700) and, as you pointed it out yourself, if these are factored in things get complicated (meaning: impossible)...)

The answer for Cornwall, however, just might turn out to be 'yes', due to its much lower population density.

The report can be downloaded here:

I think this is a very interesting and valuable exercise and I would like to propose to Transition Cornwall Network, every Transition group active in Cornwall and any other interested party, that we should conduct an equivalent study right here in Cornwall.

If you would like to take part or help in any way, please contact me on in the first place. Once we have enough responses, we can decide how best to organise the research and the work.