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.”