Have you ever thought about growing your own food, but did not quite know how to go about it? Well, it’s easy and accessible to everyone. Even if you have no land, no garden and no balcony – as long as you live in a room where there is natural light, you can grow a little bit of your own food. You can make mini greenhouses adjusting 5-litre plastic water bottles, chuck into them some seeds of your favourite herbs (basil, coriander), stuck them on top of each other – and there you have your very own vertical garden! With a bit of soil, water, air, light, time and enthusiasm, self grown organic food will appear on your table.
Not only, you can get the freshest organic home-grown food, but also you can save a bit of money by growing (even a little bit) of your own food. And by such simple actions you help Mother Earth, you contribute to sustainable way of living. Just think of the food transport costs, fuel costs, storage costs that you cut out by growing your own food! So by growing your own food you also become an environmental activist, you help Mother Nature.
All of these things (and many more) I learnt a couple of weeks ago (May 2017) at the Get Growing course, an initiative of Amma’s Green Friends. Ankita and Daniel opened their lovely South London home and garden-in-progress to the 25 of us, participants of Get Growing intensive weekend. Our extremely knowledgeable teacher, Eoin, travelled to us from Cork in Ireland and taught the course free of charge. Ankita (plus family) provided not only the space for all of us, but also cooked an absolutely delicious vegan lunch, cakes and snacks for the two days of the course. Some of us have asked her to teach a vegan cooking workshop next!
Eoin is a true gardening guru. He taught us a lot of things, but one of them particularly stuck in my mind: there is no such thing as waste. Waste is only something that you yourself put in a bin. But in a garden everything can be turned into an asset. You can compost all your organic ‘waste’ from food such as veg and fruit peals or (crashed) egg shells. You can compost (torn to small pieces) egg crates, no need to recycle them. The possibilities seem endless.
Get Growing is also a hands on course. We had a chance to have a go at sowing seeds; trouble shooting how to fix a smelly compost; inspecting how to put in mulch; individually planning a design for a garden depending on a space one has. What this course also did for me, a beginner gardener, is to give a structure and organize pieces of information that have been floating in my head: pieces of information that I learnt from Doctor Google. We all shared our garden experiments and knowledge with other participants. Something so remarkable about that bunch of people that this course attracted was that everyone was so into it! It was such a positive, inspiring thing to experience.
Even if you did not have a chance to take this course, you can still get involved and benefit from the knowledge and meet other people to share your excitement for food growing. For £10 you can get a GetGrowing manual published by GreenFriends-Europe. It is a very systematic, user friendly manual with wonderful photos of how to go about growing your own food. You can also join our EcoGarden WhatsApp group where we share ‘news’ from our food growing adventures: please contact Ankita at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do check Amma UK Green Friends website, there is a lot of inspiring news and information there: https://www.greenfriends.org.uk/
I encourage all of you to follow Amma who said: “Each family should plant a vegetable garden that can provide food for at least one day per months. Even apartments residents can grow vegetables in window boxes and on terraces.” (GetGrowing manual, p.3) Starting to grow my own food, my herbs in this case has been such a joy for me. Start small. It’s easy!