As a child I loved spending the weekends on the farm of my grandparents. When I think of those sumptuous meals at the family table, I recall the taste of deliciously-sweet pumpkin, sweet potato, peas, beans and many other freshly-picked vegetables and fruits.
As far as food-supply was concerned my grandparents were completely self-sufficient, like most farmers in South Africa those days. Buying processed foods from the supermarket was seen as a “waste of money” that was better spent by donating to the church.
Apart from saving money, you can get the best fresh and organic foods from your own garden. You don’t even need much land to do it. Moreover, it is not packed in plastic and the only distance it travels is from your garden to your kitchen.
In my Blog “Good Foods are no longer nourishing us” I quoted a scientific report from a food laboratory in Oberthal, Germany, that even the common power foods today like spinach and broccoli have up to 50 per cent less nutrients than in the 1950s. The reason: long transportation routes, packaging in plastics and depletion of soils.
We started growing our own vegetable patch this summer and it is a lot less effort than you might think. It only takes up a small section of the garden and will supply your family with a delicious supply of fresh produce over the summer. I can’t tell you how tasty our first tomato pickings were – a far cry from the “watery” stuff that you buy in the supermarket. The fresh salad grown from seeds are hard to beat.
Our first crop
Courgettes can be grown in patio containers while tomatoes can even be raised on a warm and well-lit windowsill. Beans are just as easy to grown from seeds and can provide fresh crop for several weeks.
If you live in a city you need a little more creativity. But it’s possible and a growing number of people are doing it because its a lot healthier and cheaper. Balconies, patios and even rooftops can be used. Shelves, hanging baskets or trellises can be used to create lovely gardens.
London has even created a scheme for young people to grow their own food to reduce social isolation and to teach them the value of biodiversity.
About a quarter of Britons are now growing their own food, largely because of rising food prices, sharing gardens with other people in land allotment schemes. A variety of community-based initiatives are encouraging urban farming.
In Germany, maintaining a “Schrebergarten” or small plot of land in the city is a long tradition.
First established in the 19th century to teach children the basics of gardening, they were a source of survival for many during World War II. Now it is catching on again among trendy yuppies wanting to grow their own power foods.
For my part I can only say: I’ve discovered a new hobby. It s a lot of fun!