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The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Green Issues -

Whether you live in a base­ment flat or a four-storey coun­try house, a new cam­paign aims to con­vince any­one they can grow their own ed­i­ble food.

The One Pot Pledge hopes to get 30,000 new­com­ers ‘grow­ing their own’ this year.

“We re­alised that, just as peo­ple who want to get fit get sup­port from a gym, peo­ple who wanted to grow food needed sim­i­lar sup­port,” ex­plains Food Up Front co-founder Seb May­field, who came up with the idea for the cam­paign.

“Rather than wait years for an al­lot­ment, many peo­ple could be grow­ing at home, in their gar­dens, bal­conies, win­dowsills or roof – with the sup­port they need.”

Cam­paign sup­porter, Gar­den­ers’ World pre­sen­ter and star of BBC Two show The Ed­i­ble Gar­den, Alys Fowler, agrees that peo­ple need help to get grow­ing.

“When you’ve been grow­ing for a while, you take a lot of what you do for granted, and there are def­i­nitely ba­sics that are missing in some gen­er­a­tions.

“A lot of peo­ple for­get that plants need food and

Grow­ing your own herbs and veg­eta­bles at home is eas­ier than most peo­ple

think. care - which is just light and wa­ter - and peo­ple can also get com­pletely flum­moxed when it comes time to har­vest.”

Raised by a green-fin­gered mum, the 32-yearold author of The Ed­i­ble Gar­den is no new­comer to the world of gar­den­ing and grow­ing your own. Fowler has worked with ev­ery­one from the Royal Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety to guerilla gar­den­ers in New York City.

But she does un­der­stand why such green fin­gered­ness might not come as nat­u­rally to oth­ers.

It’s not that peo­ple don’t like grow­ing, she ex­plains, but more they’re afraid to be­gin.

“New­com­ers tend to think that gar­den­ing or grow­ing-your-own will be dif­fi­cult and tax­ing be­cause, to be hon­est, both have been sold as nerdy and some­thing you do only later in life, when you’re re­tired and can spend days or months or years do­ing lit­tle more than de­vel­op­ing green knowl­edge.

“The truth is that a seed is na­ture’s packet all ready to go. You just have to scat­ter it where it can grow, give it some light and some wa­ter, and let it get on with it.”

One Pot Pledge has al­ready seen nearly 10,000 peo­ple sign up, a feat which Fowler says demon­strates how of­fer­ing a ba­sic, DIY ap­proach to gar­den­ing can help spark peo­ple’s in­ter­est.

Myles Brem­ner of Gar­den Or­ganic, a char­ity sup­port­ing the cam­paign, agrees that the main fo­cus is about “break­ing down the psy­cho­log­i­cal bar­ri­ers” of grow­ing your own.

The eas­i­est and best way to en­cour­age new grow­ers, he says, is to give them the sup­port that they need: Other gar­den­ers. That’s why the One Pot Pledge is look­ing not only to re­cruit 30,000 new grow­ers to its scheme, but also 3,000 gar­den­ing gu­rus. These will be peo­ple who have grown their own be­fore and can give help to oth­ers.

“We re­alised that, just as peo­ple who want to get fit get sup­port from a gym, peo­ple who wanted to grow food needed sim­i­lar sup­port,” adds Food Up Front’s Seb May­field.

May­field and Brem­ner are con­fi­dent that the cam­paign will be a suc­cess.

“We’re al­ready a third of the way there, and the cam­paign is still new,” says Brem­ner.

“I’m pos­i­tive that we’ll make it to far more than 30,000. The real proof of the cam­paign’s suc­cess is how many of those peo­ple keep on grow­ing next year - and that’s our biggest chal­lenge yet.”

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