Since the credit crunch in 2008, there’s been an exciting trend afoot in the UK. More and more people are growing their own fruit and vegetables. Whether we’re digging up our velvety useless lawns or pottering around allotments, it seems we’re rediscovering the joy of fresh home grown veggies.
Although perhaps it’s only appropriate to call it a ‘joy’ when referring to the middle class foodies who are growing their own for the improved flavour and freshness. This green-fingered revolution includes them, of course, but also many struggling families who are just trying to be frugal. As food prices continue to march upwards, gardening can offer a welcome reduction to the weekly grocery bill.
In 2010 the lawn-to-edible garden transformation was proclaimed the top gardening trend in the US, and it’s taking root over here in the UK as well. It’s being encouraged by local councils and the Transition Network, and it’s even got celebrity backing: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is very enthusiastic about fresh local produce, and has set up Land Share – an initiative to link budding growers with unused plots of land.
Food prices are likely to continue rising, as cheap energy dwindles worldwide. In The Transition Timeline, sustainability writer Shaun Chamberlin worriedly states that 95% of the UK’s food is oil-dependent. Climate change commitments along with the increasing cost of shipping and air freight will logically result in more locally grown food. When you also consider that the UK’s farmers are a small and ageing population – with few young people keen to take up the rural reins – you see why I believe gardening will provide a large portion of our food in the years to come.
Want to know more?
Chamerberlin, S. (2009). “Chapter 8: Food and Water” in The Transition Timeline. Totnes: Green Books.