EAT WELL – Grow your own food for good health

For anyone interested in their health and where their food comes from…        

In this era of austerity, you may have got used to tightening your belt financially and looking for ways to cut your living costs. In fact, you may be one of the 55 per cent of people who recently told Santander they now shop around to find the best deals on groceries, or the 13 per cent who have stopped using the tumble drier.

However, you may also be one of the 12 per cent of survey respondents who told the bank they had embraced a different way of cutting costs – by growing their own vegetables. It seems Brits are embracing the grow your own mentality in a way not seen since the propaganda campaigns of World War II, both for the opportunity to slash grocery bills and to stay healthy and ‘green’.

Clio Turton, spokesperson for The Soil Association, said she thinks this is a great thing to embrace, as it will encourage people to eat more healthily. “It’s for anyone interested in where food comes from, what goes into their food, and also I think people use it as a leisure activity, ” she pointed out. “It’s a fun thing to do and a really nice way of doing something educational with your kids as well. ” The expert said she is now seeing lots of young families turning parts of their gardens into vegetable patches to grow strawberries and other fruit and veg, or getting allotments to do the same.

To make the most of growing your own, Clio said it’s best to avoid things like carrots (which can be bought cheaply anyway) in favour of items that are expensive to purchase but still nutritious, such as herbs, sweetcorn and peas.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is also encouraging Britons to grow and eat more of their own vegetables as part of a national campaign. On its website, it offers the new RHS Allotment Handbook, which is full of hints and tips about what to grow and when, in order to make delicious recipes throughout the year.

Give it a try and see if you can rival the supermarkets with your bountiful produce by next year!