What’s Going On Here?
Sales of vegetable seeds have shot up during the coronavirus outbreak as people take up home gardening during the lockdown. Last weekend seed sellers across the country were overwhelmed, claiming three weeks’ worth of seeds were purchased in just one day!
What Does This Mean?
Perhaps this enforced self-isolation has a few silver linings, as individuals begin to cultivate whatever outdoor space they have for recreation in a time of being house-bound.. Together with empty supermarket shelves and a generalised fear around food security, people are beginning to wonder how they can source their own food.
Why Should We Care?
Only 153,000 hectares out of a total 17.6 million is used for edible horticulture in the UK, with just 56% of vegetables and a mere 16% of fruits being grown nationally. Arguably, we rely on a highly problematic centralised food system that is not robust or localised enough to withstand a large-scale crisis such as the one we’re experiencing.
During the last major food security emergency, WWII, food production became a priority with the government backing the ‘dig for victory’ campaign which aimed to maintain stable food supplies. The UK’s food framework has changed considerably since then, with a greater reliance on food imports.
Yet, with many people forging new habits along with a need for greater support on British farms, perhaps this crisis will help to teach us to become more self-sufficient not just as individuals but nationally.
Why don’t you start growing your own fruit or vegetables? For beginner gardeners, lettuce, rocket, tomatoes and peas are all great to start with as they grow quickly and require lower light conditions if you’re starting them indoors. And for those without outdoor space, a window sill can offer plenty of opportunity using old yogurt cups, toilet paper rolls, salad containers or even folded up newspapers as pots.
Check out Gardener’s World website for some useful tips to get your started.
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