Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Wartime Spirit - Social Implications of Credit Cruch Gardening...

Whilst the whole London Vegetable Garden project is simply an interesting hobby to see if I can actually grow a few vegetables on my London balcony, there are many more people doing exactly the same, meaning important social conclusions can be drawn from this trend.

Sales of vegetable seeds / plants in Britain now outnumber those of flowers, whilst waiting lists for London allotments have reached truly unprecedented levels, indicating a very marked shift in the UK’s horticultural habits. Whilst I’ve nodded towards what I refer to as the ‘River Cottage Effect’ in a recent blog post, this cannot be the sole reason behind the increased interest in gardening and ‘growing your own’ produce.

Some commentators speculate that the ‘credit crunch’ has had a significant effect upon people who are looking to save a bit of money by growing their own cheap vegetables. With supermarket vegetable prices fluctuating almost daily, it’s not hard to believe that many people are turning to their own back gardens for fresh produce rather than paying over the odds for imported, poor quality veg.

It’s a well-known fact that in Britain, we throw away a shocking amount of food each week; not only a sad indication of our excessive consumerist natures, but also a dreadful waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere. One of the greatest monetary advantages of growing your own is that the back garden is, in effect, one big fridge. Whilst supermarket produce goes off within a week, green-fingered horticulturalists can harvest the freshest produce by simply pulling it out of the earth, saving money by using only what they need, only when they need it.

‘Celebrity’ chefs / gardeners (delete as applicable) are all urging us to go organic and grow our own produce. Current affairs programmes and TV presenters are all saying that we should ‘make do and mend’. It seems that we’ve recently gone back to bygone days of wartime Blitz spirit and ‘digging for victory’ to quote the famous poster. One thing’s for sure – the ‘credit crunch’ has resulted in a lot more British people crunching into home-grown vegetables once more, and that can only be a good thing.

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