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Dave Hamilton grew up in the midlands market town of Northampton, a place hailed as the most demographically average town in the country. He travelled throughout his late teens and early twenties in both the UK and elsewhere in the world. When he wasn’t travelling he played in a series of bands reaching the dizzy heights of supporting Rolf Harris and one hit wonders, Doctor and the Medics.
After leaving Northampton he moved to Oxford to study Nutrition and Food Science at Oxford Brookes. It was here he began experimenting in self sufficiency in an urban setting, growing most of his food in his back garden, on his allotment and supplementing this by foraging within the city limits.
He soon realised the limitations an urban environment brought with it and coined the phrase self-sufficient-ish. This led to the setting up of the website www.selfsufficientish.com which aimed to share his experiences with a wider audience. He still runs the website along with his twin brother Andy and a team of hardworking volunteers, the self proclaimed ‘ishers’.
The website’s success saw the commissioning of his first book, also a co-project with his twin, the critically acclaimed Self Sufficient-ish Bible.
Dave continues to grow his own food and has always done so no matter where he has found himself living (flats, terraced houses in towns, cities and in the countryside). He’s worked for numerous charities taking care of their productive gardens and their volunteering workforce. He has always championed the low budget approach to gardening, not only as it is accessible to all but also as his chosen career (writer and gardener) has meant he never really ever has much money. This has resulted in many years of finding low cost or even free solutions to everyday problems.
He occasionally appears on TV and Radio to talk about urban gardening, allotments and foraging.
He occasionally works as a forager and has taught the subject to National Trust staff and at the Eden Project.
He also now writes for a diverse range of publications including gardening magazines, food magazines and comic book legend Alan Moore’s latest offering Dodgem Logic. He sometimes still plays in bands and was once runner up in the Tuborg Comedy Awards for his German Techno Band ‘Vontergarten’.
Author photo © JP Hedge
A natural boffin, Dave Hamilton’s cheery book is the outcome of his quest for free-as-possible food. And growing food the “free” way is good for your purse and good for the environment as you recycle, reuse, scrounge and make-do. Beside the hundreds of tips and ideas, there is some very good advice to be had on soil, compost and fertiliser in particular. It’s fun to read with useful tables and quirky step-by-step diagrams, the projects achievable, that almost free food eminently possible. Like for Like Reading The Self-Sufficient-ish Bible, Andy & Dave HamiltonThe Thrifty Gardener: How to Create a Stylish Garden for Next to Nothing, Alys Fowler
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