My headline was intended to be something of an eye-catcher—who can resist a story about crime and scurvy, right?
Best of all, my claim is true. The thinking goes something like this:
- Scurvy, the clinical manifestation of vitamin C deficiency, is on the rise in developed nations. In the United Kingdom, for example, reported cases of childhood scurvy rose 57% between 2005–2008.
- Public health studies indicate that poverty is driving the re-emergence of the disease.
- Access to free, fresh, vitamin-c rich foods will reduce incidents of scurvy.
Ergo: planting fruit trees and vegetables in public spaces will reduce scurvy.
And what about crime, I hear you ask? Well, since 2008, a project in Todmorden, UK, has been growing fruits and vegetables in seventy public beds dotted around the town.
The produce is free to whoever chooses to pick it, and, as Incredible Edible co-founder Pam Warhurst explains: “The police have told us that, year on year, there has been a reduction in vandalism since we started.” She continues: “If you take a grass verge that was used as a litter bin and a dog toilet and turn it into a place full of herbs and fruit trees, people won’t vandalise it.” Read the rest of this entry »