Grow Your Own

The idea is very simple: go into your garden, put up a shed, even dig up your concrete patio or knock down your garage to create gardening space - and start growing lots of delicious, organic, pesticide-free fruit, vegetables and herbs.

It is common to hear about the rising price of food on the news - home grown foods are much cheaper than supermarket or shop bought veggies or can even be free! Even if you only grow a couple of things, swap the healthy produce you have grown with friends or co-workers for things they have grown for a range of fantastic foods to tuck into.

If you do not have a garden, there are plenty of opportunities to grow your own: window boxes, window sills, hanging baskets, pots inside or outside, growbags, allotments, community gardens and city farms all offer people a chance to get involved in growing food. It's rewarding, healthy and relatively simple to cultivate your favourite fruits and vegetables. We recommend this website for information on how to get started: http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/basics/techniques/growfruitandveg_index.shtml

  1. The Return of Community Food Growers
    The Independent reports that more and more city-dwellers and city communities are growing their own foods. We have quoted some interesting points below, but you can read the full article here: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/the-citydwellers-who-are-becoming-front-garden-farmers-810294.html
  2. Urban Food Production
    Communities growing food together is nothing new, but the practice declined from the late Fifties onwards - in built up areas, especially - with the spread of urban development and the rise of the supermarket. Despite this, city farms, community gardens and allotments have remained popular and provide the basis on which today's grassroots urban growing schemes are being built.
  3. City Farms
    The first city farm was established in London's Kentish Town in 1972. Today, city farms are well-established in many parts of the UK, offering people living in built up areas - school children, especially - invaluable access, understanding and hands-on experience of farm animals and indigenous crops. There are more than 60 city farms and a further 60 school farms in the UK.
  4. Community Gardens
    Like city farms, community gardens are projects created in built-up areas in response to a lack of access to green space. Most involve food-growing activities, training, school visits and some form of community business. There are now about 1,000 community gardens in Britain and a further 200 city farms and community gardens currently in development. For more information visit: www.farmgarden.org.uk
  5. Allotments
    Growing interest in allotments has been fuelled in recent years by rising interest in healthy eating, organic food and exercise as well as environmental concerns (see the National Society of Allotments and Leisure Gardeners for information at www.nsalg.org.uk). Manchester City Council has a list of allotments and guidance on how to get a plot at Allotments in Manchester.
  6. Local Growing Schemes
    Community-based Urban growing schemes are being set up in towns and cities across the UK. Recent additions include south London's urban food growing network Food Up Front; GroFun in Bristol, which stands for GROwing Food in Urban Neighbourhoods (contact: info@grofun.org.uk). More established schemes include north London's Growing Communities.

If you would like helpful reminders and handy gardening tips, look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/calendar/

For further reading we recommend the Soil Association's Grow Organic page which gives a month-by-month guide to key tasks on your veg plot.