A short story called ‘Start with what you’ve got’……
After World War 11 the desert in Tunisia was covered with what was left of burned out tanks, lorries, jeeps and aircraft. Among this burned out litter were millions of cans of all shapes and sizes, oil cans, coke cans, beef tins, baked bean cans, to mention just a few. There were poor farmers living in the desert who had land which had become covered in sand during the war. The United Nations Food Organisation tried to reclaim this land from the desert, for the farmers, but they had no success. Then, a young UN officer had a great idea. He offered one penny to the locals who came in with 100 cans. Soon Arabs were streaming in with camels and donkeys laden with tin cans of every shape and size. The agricultural experts then planted one blade of tough grass in each tin, hundreds of thousands were placed in the desert about 1.5 miles from the town of Tobruk. Every can was watered and a film of oil spread over it to protect it. Slowly one or two of the blades of grass grew and took root. As the tin corroded, the roots spread out into the desert sand. Today the desert sand has been driven back about 5 miles allowing the local farmers to grow crops and graze cattle once more.