project metaphor drawing

March 26, 2007


In 1992 the European Union introduced an amendment to the Common Agricultural Policy to address the issue of over production. Widespread high yielding intensive farming methods were producing more cereals that could be consumed within the EU and storing or exporting this surplus was uneconomically viable. In response a policy of land use subsidies was introduced. Arable farmers would receive payment in return for “setting aside” 8% of their food producing land area.

The Set Aside policy reduced the grain surplus whilst also producing significant environmental benefits. The land left as fallow created valuable habitat for wildlife and flora which led to a dramatic increase in biodiversity. Field margins, headlands and river banks left uncultivated created protected corridors for wildlife and acted as a buffer to prevent harmful chemical sprays from infiltrating waterways.

There are different typologies of set aside:

Fallow Land: Land that is left uncultivated during the set aside months (15th Jan to 31st Aug). This land is only eligible for set aside subsidies if it has been used for food production in its recent history. i.e. permenant pasture is not fallow land.

Energy Crops: Set aside is dependant on land not being used for food production, however alternative crops can be cultivated. Short rotation willow coppice, elephant grass and miscanthus are increasingly being grown as biofuels.

Crop Rotation: Set aside can be harnessed as a component of the crop rotation cycle. Non food crops such as oil seed rape can be cultivated on set aside land to produce lubricants whilst also fixing nitrogen to regenerate soil that has been exhausted by the demands of wheat and barley.

Wildflower Meadow: Wild flower meadows can be cultivated on set aside land to produce seed for horticultural use or to support the production of honey.

This agricultural land use model will help inform a strategy for my scenario of temporary use in the city.


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