Food and Welwyn Garden City: prescribing a sociable future?
In 2020 we celebrate the centenary year of the development of Welwyn Garden City. In the light of increasingly urgent food issues globally, this article explores how connections to food have played out in Welwyn Garden City especially in its antecedents and early development. It concludes by briefly giving thought to contemporary food issues and future resilience possibilities in Welwyn and beyond. Ebenezer Howard’s Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path To Real Reform (1898) demonstrates to a striking degree engagement with food aspects of the proposed Garden City constellation. In Welwyn, Howard offered very detailed proposals for a localised food system, linking the Garden City and its greenbelt in a productive symbiosis. Howard also proposed or supported all sorts of interesting food ideas from the domestic kitchen and productive private garden onwards through community gardens, allotments, orchards and smallholdings, and into reshaped food shopping, dining, vegetarian diet, and food waste arrangements. Howard’s ‘social prescription’ for Welwyn seems increasingly relevant today for a more sustainable food future.