Where do vegetables come from? If you answered “the supermarket” then maybe you need to get back in touch with nature. Recent trends have seen demand for allotments gardens or community gardens soar, particularly in inner city areas.
Over the last decade, there has been a global population shift. Most of the population used to be spread out over rural areas. Land was readily available, and to grow your own food came as second nature to many. Now, the majority of people live in towns and cities. Most of the population live in urban and suburban areas, with all of their food grown either by farmers in their own country, or imported.
There is a global movement towards eating healthily and also towards making purchasing choices environmentally friendly. It is common knowledge that eating a good diet plays a big role in being healthy. While there has been a switch towards products in supermarkets marketed as “healthy options” or labelled as using recycled materials, this is only a half measure. When sugar-packed chocolate cereals can market themselves with health benefits, it is difficult for a consumer to make a truly informed decision. There is a huge amount of choice available to consumers, but there is less confidence behind the health claims made on some of the products.
The only way to really know exactly what you are feeding yourself and your family with is by growing it yourself. The image of a perfect garden is changing. Having perfectly mown grass, well-pruned bushes, and a white picket fence is no longer enough. The common suburban garden or back yard can be transformed into a provider of safe, healthy and delicious food.
It is not only consumers that are realising the benefits of home grown fruit and vegetables. NASA are planning to use a kitchen garden to grow food on the planned mission to Mars. The Mars mission is scheduled to take place in around 2030. The garden has already been planned, and will contain lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions, radishes, peppers, strawberries, cabbage, and herbs. There is still a lot for NASA to work on before they are ready. For a start, space travel has never involved proper food preparation, as pre-packaged ‘space food’ comes ready to eat.
Not only are the health benefits clear, but by taking some of the food supply out of the hands of the international distributors, the carbon footprint can be lowered or even negated. In our current highly transported and mechanised food supply, it takes roughly 8 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of food energy. This is incredibly wasteful, and as oil levels begin to decline, the cost of providing food in such a way is going to soar.
And it’s not just food and vegetables that can be grown in a kitchen garden, healthy kids and families are grown too. Learning about gardening, teaching that knowledge to your children, and spending time together working on the garden provides much sought after bonding time. Not only this, but children that are brought up with a better knowledge about where their food comes from are more likely to become healthier adults.
Kitchen gardens are kind on the wallet as well, with growing your own food proving far cheaper than buying the equivalent products from shops. So look out, kitchen gardens are on the rise and their popularity is likely to explode over the next decade or so.