Home grown food really is this easy, affordable and tasty...

The Good Life Letter 

27th March 2011

  • Home grown food on the table will benefit all 
  • Find out how food can be child's play
  • Discover what YOU can do about it - easily

Yesterday my daughter stopped me in my tracks and really made me think.

From the mind of a 10 year old came a whole new perspective on modern civilisation.

Let me explain.

On Friday I wrote about how amazing Manuka honey from New Zealand is.

This is one tiny piece of the global food supply system, but it started to make me appreciate just how fragile it all is. And I'm not just talking about exotic foods, I mean some of the staples of our modern diet.

Rice, pasta and olives are not native to these shores, however, no week in the Collins' household is complete without them. They provide a vital component of our family nutrition. And in some cultures, these are actually home grown foods.

As I was watching images of the aftermath of the Japanese quake and tsunami last week I was shocked to see empty shelves in their shops.

This is one of the strongest economies in the world, with premier league logistics and a highly stable currency. But there was no food to be had.

The system suddenly failed and there was no plan B. Now with the risk and worry associated with nuclear fall out to consider, even though the food supply is coming back on stream, no-one is sure about it.

Watching New Zealand and Japan succumb to the power of the earthquakes, the horror of those lost and the misery of those left trying to rebuild their lives and couldn't help but feel utterly helpless. And make me wonder... how would I handle a disaster?

I could cope without an office or a school, I would get by with a damaged home as long as no-one was hurt, but I would want to be able to put sustenance in front of those I love in order to keep their spirits up.

That's where my thoughts were yesterday.

Out of the mouth's of babes

We were working on the garden, me dibbing little shallow holes and my daughter following along with a bag of broad bean seeds.

She carefully placed a seed in each hole then pulled the earth in over it, almost like a mother tucking a child into bed. She even spoke to each one and wished it a happy life.

Part way down a row she suddenly asked:

"Daddy, what would we do if there was an earthquake?"

"Well, I don't think that's very likely here," I said trying to allay her fears, "they tend to happen where the earth crust is already cracked and we are a long way from any of those."

"Yes Dad, but what would you do?" she insisted.

"I would make sure you were all safe, and help those around us too," I offered.

"Would you share our beans? We would have lots and other people might not be so lucky."

Out of the mouth of babes. Those few words really set me thinking.

How does your garden grow?

This country has always been one where home grown veg was commonplace, allotments were made available in every parish and local produce shows drew huge crowds.

But as I looked out across paved patios, extended car parking and an endless sea of decking I became aware that there wasn't much horticulture going on in my road.

And I suspect that this situation is being repeated all around the country - how many people in your road grow their own food?

As we become more reliant on the retail sector to provide for us doesn't that increase our risk?

I would love to think that every Good Life reader has at least one crop that they are growing and nurturing with the promise of a rich harvest at the end.

It might be a plastic tub with a few beans in it, or a window box with a strawberry plant - or even a plan to get a grow bag on the patio for tomatoes.

This weekend, how about:

  • Sowing some seeds? Either outside or under cover if there is still a risk of frost in your neck of the wood.  Try carrots, beetroot, lettuce, Brussels sprouts and it's the perfect time to get the broad beans and dwarf beans sown.
  • Sprinkle a few cress seeds on some wet kitchen towel? (next week you can toss them into cooked, still slightly warm new potatoes, crispy bacon and a horseradish mayonnaise dressing for an amazing salad)
  • Putting early potatoes in the ground or a large container of compost?
  • Looking around the house, the garage, the shed for containers to plant in?  You are limited only by your imagination.  Anything you can poke holes into the bottom of can be used for container gardening.

Nothing ever tastes better than home grown food, straight from the garden to the plate, often with a bit of soil on it.

"You have to eat a speck of dirt before you die" was my Gramps motto (but he was vague about how long transpired between those two events!)

Yours, as always





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