Edible Britain
Wed Oct 18 2017 
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Edible Britain
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RHS Britain in Bloom 2013 launches this month. The theme this year is “Edible Britain”, which will see community gardening groups create 2,000 edible gardens in public spaces around the country.

Britain in Bloom was set up in 1964 as a tourist initiative but since the RHS took over in 2002 it has grown into one of Europe’s largest community gardening and environmental campaigns involving villages, towns, cities, urban communities and neighbourhood groups across the country. It is also the UK’s biggest voluntary campaign.


Further details can be found at

http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardening/News/RHS-Britain-in-Bloom-2013-launch
 
   

Fresh Home Grown Produce

Fresh Home Grown Produce
 

With the price of vegetables and other produce escalating ever higher in the shops, even with the top supermarket chains across Britain undercutting most prices of the smaller companies, there seems very likely that a change is coming for those who are looking for fresh home-grown food.

Many thousands of garden centres around the country are now growing their own produce, it is evident by the amount of customers that shop there buying fruit, vegetables, eggs, cheeses, jams, chutneys, in fact hundreds of varying items that are locally home-grown and produced in a healthier growing manner, that is fast becoming a success in its own right.

Local farmers are cultivating their own crops, many using organic growing methods to produce some of the finest, freshest food and better tasting that can be bought anywhere.

TV programmes have clearly shown the cruelty of factory farmed and battery chickens, not only for the eggs, but the massive demand for the meat, their horrific treatment at being shut in cages until they are ready to be killed for food, has outraged many.

People are now realising and feel a need to buy chickens and eggs produced by far less cruel methods, and are prepared to spend the extra money in buying them using free-range methods, where chickens have the freedom to wander around at their leisure. It is a proved fact that the eggs and meat produced by these chickens is certainly better tasting and far healthier for the consumer.

 

The thousands of satisfied customers who shop everyday and weekly at these farm shops and garden centres, have found the answer in buying locally grown and home-made products, not only are they supporting their local community, but they are assured of fresh, better tasting healthier food.

This fast growing market is bringing in millions of pounds in finances every year to those who are using natural growing methods, this is what the customer wants, that's one of the reasons that it is moving ahead at a fast pace, with new shops and outlets opening up around the country every week.

Many businesses and shops in most local towns and villages are now offering a free delivery service to those that buy fresh produce from them, this in itself is proving very successful, to the delight of the customer knowing that the food delivered is home grown and fresh.   

   
 

In the early part of the last century most people suffered very hard times, food was scarce and  costly, especially fruit and vegetables. It was a time of extreme worry for those with families, not only did the father have his daily job to go to, but many were desperate to find other ways to provide food.

Many people converted part of their gardens, which was dug up and specially cultivated for potatoes, cabbages, runner and broad beans, tomatoes, and many other kinds of vegetables. 

Local councils in city's, towns, and villages around the country provided the ground, where those who wanted to grow their own food was made available.

For those who loved the outdoor life, especially growing their own produce, the gardeners of England were in a world of devoting themselves to a piece of land, a small patch of ground that they lovingly called their “allotments”.

They sprang up in every place, the allotted land was soon being dug by those who had found a new interest, wanting to taste the luxuries of what they had spent so much time and effort in producing.  

The allotment began to grow in favour for all those who liked to get-away from their homes and wander down to their piece of “hallowed” ground, where they they dug the soil, planted and watered the seeds, soon to relish in the pleasure and satisfaction of the newly growing plants.

This was a little piece of England they could call their own, families would wander down to their allotments at the weekend, share the joy of gardening together, have a picnic and a day out in the sunshine, relaxing and enjoying all their hard work.

The slogan which gave the English the motivation and the necessity to produce their own food came during the second world war.

Britain depended heavily on America and Canada to supply them with armaments and food, as dozens of ships in a convoy left the safety of their ports and headed across the Atlantic ocean, they were met with the feared and dreaded “wolf-packs”of U-boat submarines, who hunted the convoys down relentlessly ready to pounce and destroy them.

They stood very little chance during the crossing, Allied ships were being sunk in their thousands of tons weekly, tens of thousands of crewmen lost their lives, it was becoming nothing short of a complete disaster, food supplies were disrupted and Britain feared they may well starve if something wasn't done soon. 

Many ships made it through the U-Boat, wolf-packs and food supplies were occasionally getting through, but certainly not enough supplies to feed the  people of England marooned on this tiny island, it was becoming very serious.

Everyone in wartime Britain was a little hungry but no one starved, the Government took drastic action, the slogan they announced soon became a household name for all those that were determined not to let Hitler win.

This tiny island was a fortress in itself, but the food situation was worsening daily, so food production became a top priority.

The slogan on billboards across the nation heralded the words “Dig For Victory” signalling the nation to rise up and keep the country's food stocks full.

At Buckingham Palace the Queen Mother took delight in assisting the country in its “Dig For Victory” campaign.

Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret began to cultivate the grounds within the palace for growing vegetables, encouraging everyone throughout the nation to accept the task that they were demonstrating by their example.

More or less every piece of ground in the cities across Britain was dug-up and vegetables were grown. London itself saw its beautiful gardens and parks ploughed-up, soon thousands of men and women were busily cultivating the very ground and growing vegetables, where once perfect lawns and grass grew.

It was a country under threat, in the farms and fields across Britain, farmers were assisted by a force of over 80, 000 of the Women's Land Army, who ploughed, milked, fed the animals, planted corn, wheat and barley, grew every kind of vegetable, and harvested all the crops, in a combined and determined effort to increase the country's home food production.

They worked from the early hours until late at night, bravely facing all the adverse weather conditions that this country is known for.

The farmers and especially the Women's Land Army, accomplished nothing less than a “miracle” in helping to keep the country fed.

In our time too, the 21st century there are those who now believe that growing their own produce is not only “fashionable” but a necessity.

This is the first time since the second world war that Buckingham Palace has now decided to grow its own vegetables within the grounds, setting the example to the nation once again, that we can all participate in this by encouraging our families to enjoy the products of our labour and grow our own food.

On the other side of the Atlantic, President Obamah's wife has already dug up part of the Presidential lawn at the White House to grow her own food, with her newly cultivated ground she intends to grow an organic kitchen garden.

This will also promote the benefits of home-grown food, healthy eating and self sufficiency, coupled with making every effort to protect the environment, her message is clear to all those across the country, hopefully many will follow her example in growing their own vegetables.

Thousands already in this country are willing to support the “growing movement”, for those living in tower blocks who have no garden are not put off, they too are growing vegetables in flower baskets and window boxes along the balconies of their high rise apartments.

It seems that the country is now fully aware of the benefits of home-grown food, healthy eating and helping to protect the environment.

With the ever increasing prices for vegetables soaring sharply it will certainly give us all a very good reason to get our forks and spades out, get digging and planting, then we can all say that we...”Dug For Victory”.

But for all those who now “grow their own” the greatest satisfaction and delight is when they tuck into those freshly picked, crispy mountains of vitamin packed vegetables and succulent salads...that they have grown it themselves!