The Great British Grow Off?

The Great British Grow Off?

In January the Newspapers were full of concern for a post Brexit shortage of fresh consumable goods. If this happened this could threaten the U.K’s food security and drive prices higher in shops. The U.K. relies highly on Europe for food and Brexit could impact the population first by leaving supermarket shelves empty.

What would we do? Even though this is a worrying scenario I immediately thought of the potential for individual people to grow their own food here in the U.K. It would be organic which is better for us, and also reduces transportation which is better for the environment. So why aren’t we doing it? 

I wanted to find out how people felt about growing food, so I asked the question. Answers ranged from time scarcity, to lack of accessible garden space, knowledge and confidence. People also felt that the amount they could grow was a drop in the ocean compared to what they needed. A few assumed I meant one garden should supply a whole neighbourhood and laughed at my idealism.

Should this discourage us from growing our own fresh consumables rather than relying on what we can get from the shops? Should we just wait for the government to ‘sort it out’ as we habitually do? How do we grow enough? At times in history people who provided food were among the wealthiest in the area. Have we become lazy expecting to be ‘fed’ when instead we could consider this an opportunity and think for ourselves.

I went out to find people and communities who were busy already growing food. It is encouraging to see that those who had taken the initiave not only loved it, but gained so many other values too. I met hobby gardeners feeding themselves organically, neighbourhoods who grew and shared what they couldn’t eat, and communities who repurposed waste land to grow food together. The people I met were proud of their achievements, enthusiastic, happy, and full of community spirit being involved with food growing schemes. And before you ask, I found it in city centres too.

I am busy scoping out a TV idea for this which could be brilliant. Meanwhile I will be covering this  in my blog. I want to make growing food fun and accessible and for people to enjoy it. I think the shared and community values are fantastic and if I can encourage more of you to do it I will be a happy man.

The Black Gardener
24th May 2019

Image credit: Neil Marshment

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