Gourmet Tastes Are Feeding the Growth of the Gastro Garden

Article excerpt

Gourmets unhappy with fruit and vegetables from supermarkets, and environmentalists worried about air miles, pesticides and other modern evils are increasingly growing their own food.

Although the number of amateur gardeners is not known, horticultural organisations are reporting a rise in the number of people asking how they can grow edible plants in domestic gardens and allotments.

Advocates of what has become known as the Grow Your Own (GYO) movement, say homegrown fare is tastier, healthier and cheaper. It is also more environmentally acceptable than commercial crops sprayed with chemicals and taken by lorry to shops.

If the movement gains momentum, GYO could potentially become as important a development for food as DIY became for home improvement. GYO seems to spring from the rising interest among the British public in food, which has resulted in falling sales for unhealthy, processed products and booming sales of organic fruit and vegetables and more nutritious food.

Greater publicity has also exposed the number of miles which fresh produce is flown to sate the desire of supermarkets for all- year-round choice.

Claire Willis, of the National Association of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners, said: "There is a general trend towards growing your own. We go to a lot of shows and more and more we are finding there are other people taking on allotments or growing their own. Gardening is not just about flowers and shrubs any more. Even if you have only a small area you can certainly turn over part of it to growing produce."

Georgina Wroe, of Grow Your Own magazine, launched last year to cater for new amateur growers, said: "It's certainly a trend. The four major seed companies have all reported bigger sales in vegetables than in flowers, which is the first time that has happened since the end of the Second World War."

The Royal Horticultural Society reported that interest was coming not just from new allotment owners but people with small city gardens. …