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Garden Organic - Food needs 'fundamental rethink'

I've only just visited the news pages and not only did I find horrific news of war but I came across this on the BBC News website. I prefer to show Garden Organics (HDRA!) version though, hope they don't mind...

Gardening matters for food security says Garden Organic

Posted Monday 8th December 2008

Garden Organic
Garden Organic's president, Prof. Tim Lang

The nation's gardens have an instrumental part to play in securing the future of our food, according to Garden Organic, the UK's leading organic growing charity.

The recommendation comes following a seminar, led by the charity, which gathered together Britain's foremost horticultural, agricultural and sustainability organisations, to discuss 'Gardening for Food Security'; an exploration of how home and community food growing could contribute to the nation's food supply.

In a lively debate chaired by Garden Organic's President Professor Tim Lang, of the Food Policy Unit, City University London, the seminar found that an already large body of evidence exists to indicate that gardens have huge potential not only for providing local, nutritious food, but also for maintaining biodiversity, and reducing the ecological impact of food growing and consumption.

A reoccurring theme of the debate was the absence of gardening and gardens in the Government's food security agenda, a position that Garden Organic hopes will change as the Government starts to form its policies on food security for the UK

Margi Lennartsson, Policy Director at Garden Organic said, “We firmly believe that gardens should play a key part in securing the future of our food and this must be recognised by Government. Gardens are an under valued and under used resource, and with over 82% of the nation's households having access to a garden or green space, their potential is huge.”

“At a time of peak oil and where food shortages are a reality, home food growing will not only contribute to the population's supply of fresh fruit and veg, and our five a day quota, but will also help to re-educate people in the art of growing their own – a skill which we believe will be invaluable in the future.”

Taking stock of the evidence, the seminar found that a raft of facts and figures already exist to support the potential of home food production, however further research must be done. At a more practical level, the seminar also found that key to the success of gardens and green spaces for food production, would be the joined-up approach of organisations working across the gardening and growing spectrum. To integrate home food production into British gardening culture, any 'body' from garden centre, to charity, to horticultural college, would need to work collaboratively and strategically for gardens to achieve their potential.

Garden Organic is already running its own 'Dig for Victory' campaign. Aimed at mobilising garden owners to turn at least some of their green space over to growing food organically the charity hopes to get more British people digging for food democracy.


  1. Yay! I love it when this kind of information goes out there, because to me its just too obvious that its the direction we need to go if the economy is falling apart. Its like the Victory Gardens during WWII, my dad says his grandmother turned her whole front yard into a veg garden during that time, and I am pretty sure she kept it long after the call for the 'Victory Gardens'.

  2. Hi Hen, I've never commented here before but I just recently discovered your blog and I think it's great!
    I love the way you live and it's basically the way I want to live when I'm older (I'm only 17 now and my parents will be devastated that my huge ambitions have dissipated and I want the simple life!).
    I definitely agree with what dowhatyoulove said - really reminds me of the WWII food effort, which consequently has reminded me of Jamie Oliver's programme that was on recently called 'Ministry of Food' which is relevant to some extent! Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's just set up something that ties in with this whole idea, but I can't remember the name of the website!!
    Sorry for this long and rambling and fairly useless comment, but thanks for posting this and for posting everything actually!

  3. Sensible and necessary report, Hen. Thanks for sharing.

    You've inspired me to go ahead with the gardening giveaway that I have been thinking about doing. I'll have to let you know when I'm ready to do that!

  4. What a good post! Local authorities and councils need to okay more allotments because the waiting lists are very long. I'm about to join (I hope) a Community Supported Agricultural Scheme and publicity about them needs upping me thinks.

    I look forward to a year of reading your posts by the way! May blessings rain down on you and yours. X

  5. There is nothing tastier than food picked out of your own back yard five minutes before eating it.

  6. Hi Hen, I've been following this story and it led me to your blog, which I love! Actually there's a very disturbing development which I wrote about here: - essentially, our organic (sustainable) production of food might be watered down to meet 'market' needs. It's a very sad idea, just when so many home gardeners are helping rebuild biodiversity and food security.

  7. A reply to everybody...

    DWYL (Dowhatyoulove!!!) It is just common sense isn't it?! Give me a veg garden bursting with life over the desert of a lawn any day! hen xxx

    Allie(NatureHippy), Hello! Nice to meet you! Your comment wasn't useless at all and I'm grateful for it, thank you. I hope you can be assured in the fact that my family were a bit devastated that I went Wwoofing ( around England instead of going on to 'greater' things! Now they envy me my simple, creative life and wish they could have the same. I wish it for them too. :o) At 17 I knew the way I wanted to go, so I know that you're very lucky to have realised so young. Follow that instinct Allie, it might do you good! It did me, amazingly! hen xxx

    Annie, Can't wait to see your give away! Is it international?!? hen xxx

    Lizzie, Community Supported Agricultural is an awesome idea!! Good on you! If you get the chance it would be great to read about your experiences with it on your blog... sorry, I'm cheeky!! Looking forward to a year of getting to know you better Lizzie! hen xxx

    Barry, too true!! hen xxx

    Kay, Hello and welcome! Fabulous website you have there. The push by some organic farmers is worrying, but not surprising. I've experienced many farmers going organic because the support and subsidies are better and the profit potential higher. Farms are rarely going organic out of a belief in the system or for the benefit of diversity and health. A deep shame. I for one will be fighting it to the hilt. hen xxx


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