Brits are saving an average £268 a year by digging for their dinner plate, according to new research released today by the UK’s ultimate grow your own event – The Edible Garden Show.
The study revealed home-grown food has never been more fashionable - and with good reason. Wolverhampton residents are saving more than twice the national average at £579 per year so it’s no surprise almost two-thirds (65%) of people nationwide have grown their own produce in the last five years and more than half (56%) are planning to in 2016.
While saving money is key for 40%, health and taste benefits also top the poll of motivational factors. Popular botanist and television presenter James Wong, who will be headlining the show, which after two successful years in London is returning to the National Agricultural and Exhibition Centre in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire from 11-13 March, believes you can’t beat the taste of home-grown produce.
James says: “Growing your own has never been so popular. It can be so much more cutting-edge than people think. By using a range of simple scientific tips and tricks you can easily supercharge the flavour and nutrient content of your crops to make them far tastier than the supermarket alternatives.”
As the nation prepares to sow and plant their own potatoes (42%), strawberries (46%), tomatoes (59%), herbs (51%), lettuce (36%), onions (29%), peas (24%), raspberries (23%) and chilies (20%), James believes most grow-your-own enthusiasts are merely scratching at the surface by sticking to growing traditional fruit and veg.
He says: “This amounts to only 1% of what could be grown in the UK. Brits are missing out on countless weird and wonderful flavours and should be more adventurous. From Szechuan peppers and edible fuchsia berries, to tiny cucamelons and even home grown green tea, up to 3,000 edible crops can be grown extremely easily in the UK climate. Not only does it add variety to the ingredients you cook with and help you enjoy a healthier lifestyle, it also saves you. It is much cheaper to grow saffron for instance than to buy it in the shops.”
Although limited space is the largest constraint with 55% of people saying it’s put them off taking the plunge, nearly one in three (31%) are now considering growing their edible crops alongside their ornamental plants and flowers.
James says: “As our gardens become smaller and smaller and we appreciate the amazing results that can be achieved in limited spaces, I think we’ll see more people moving away from purely ornamental gardens as they specifically select plants for their edible qualities. You don’t have to have acres of lands to grow your own. Tasty and incredible edible crops can be nurtured from the smallest of spaces on patios, balconies, window boxes and even front doorsteps.”
Di Appleyard, Marketing and PR Co-ordinator for The National Allotment Society, says: “This research shows just how vital our allotment plots are and how, despite the majority of people in the UK only having access to small gardens and miniscule balconies, we have rediscovered our taste for and appreciation of home grown fruit and vegetables. Events like The Edible Garden Show provide a great opportunity to pick up some tips to get children interested in gardening and keen on eating fresh, healthy food. The inspirational talks and demonstrations give people the confidence.”
It’s also incredibly social. With nearly half (49%) of Brits choosing to pick up a trowel with their partners and almost one in four (23%) inspiring the next generation by growing with either their children or grandchildren, it’s one of the best hobbies for leaving any troubles behind as you get out and have fun losing yourselves tending to your own fruit and veg.
The Edible Garden Show Event Director Geraldine Reeve says: “Families growing together is at the very of heart of the show as it’s something the whole family can enjoy. It’s really important to enthuse youngsters and give them an understanding of where their food comes from which is why there’s something for everyone. We have a huge crop of exciting exhibitors as well as a fertile mix of interactive advice sessions, hands-on demonstrations and livestock. So whether you’re a novice, an expert or just seeking a slice of the good life, you can’t help but walk away inspired.”
For more information about this great value for money family day out where under 5s are free visit: www.theediblegardenshow.co.uk