Gardening matters for food security says Garden OrganicPosted Monday 8th December 2008
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.