So, you’re stuck indoors all day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be active! We know how important physical activity is for not only our poor bodies, but for our mental health too. And at a time like this, it’s even more important to keep that activity going. So, GCDA have devised a sheet giving you lots of ideas for how to stay active during this time at home and that exercise all the muscle groups; so, have a read and get active!
One of the happiest moments of my life was when I harvested my first home grown pumpkin. It was an absolute beauty, golden in colour and about 10kg in weight. Since then I have had the same happiness from bounteous harvests of tomatoes, chilli peppers, potatoes, courgette, lettuce and other amazing vegetables.
I became interested in growing my own food largely from an ecological perspective. I’d lived in the country and been dismayed to see tractors spraying acres and acres of land with toxic chemicals. I didn’t really want those chemicals in my body and I didn’t want them on the earth.
Growing your own food is a great way to increase sustainability. It cuts down on the transport pollution needed when bringing food in from all over the world. It reduces plastic packaging and eliminates preservatives needed to keep shop bought produce from deteriorating.
As I started gardening and reading more about it the mental and physical benefits became clear. It felt so good to be in nature, with my hands in the soil and tending a vegetable garden. It boosted my mood to see all the crops growing nicely and to anticipate the delicious harvests to come.
For physical benefits gardening is very good exercise. Digging and moving compost around is a great workout. Also there is nothing like being outside breathing in the fresh air to promote good health.
Growing your own food makes it easier to eat more vegetables. Home grown vegetables undoubtedly taste much better than shop bought. The current recommendation is to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. When you’re harvesting baskets of fresh salad, beans, tomatoes and more it is a pleasure to eat so much fresh produce.
If you’re pulling your hair out because your kids won’t go near a vegetable then growing your own could be the answer. It’s a great way to get them involved and they may be more interested in sampling something they’ve planted and nurtured themselves!
The other great benefit of home growing is that you can choose your own varieties to grow which adds a whole lot of interest. One of my loves, for example, is to grow chilli peppers. When you grow your own you can grow amazing varieties that you would never find in the shops.
Finally, and without wanting to get too serious I think we all got a bit of a shock going into the supermarkets recently and seeing the shelves empty. This highlighted that in times of crisis food security becomes foremost in our minds. To improve access to food during times of crisis, for individuals and nationally, it makes sense for many more of us to grow our own food.
I hope I’ve convinced you that growing your own is a good idea for your physical and mental health as well as for the health of the environment.
If so let’s look at ways that you can get started. The first way I would recommend is our very own Growing Greenwich programme. We have several sites around the Borough of Greenwich where you can learn about growing and get some practical experience under the guidance of Kevin, our friendly and professional grower.
Another option is to get an allotment. Allotments have been a very popular way to grow food since the second world war and food rationing. Nowadays they provide a place for city dwellers to find some peace in natural beauty and grow some fresh produce at the same time. To find out more and apply for an allotment visit here.
Of course the best place to grow vegetables is in your back garden if you have one. Even a small space of a few metres squared can produce a lot of food. There are many ways to grow but here are a few places to start.
Charles Dowding promotes an organic no dig method which is very good for maintaining and improving the health of the soil.
Square foot gardening is a fun and efficient way to grow vegetables in a small area.
Finally even if you don’t have any earth to plant into container growing is an effective and enjoyable way to get going.
For seeds I usually advise not to buy from supermarkets or garden centres. They can be very expensive and are often of low quality. There’s nothing worse than going to all the trouble to prepare beds only for your seeds to fail.
I would recommend buying seed from suppliers who provide for professional growers. You can then be sure you are using the highest quality seeds. I would recommend Moles seeds who have a great selection of organic and non-organic produce. The Organic Gardening Catalogue has a great selection of organic seeds including interesting heirloom varieties.
I hope there is something useful here to help you grow your own food. At GCDA we love encouraging a healthier and more sustainable way of life. Please share pics of your bounty with us on Twitter and Instagram! #growingingreenwich
If we can be of further assistance, please let us know – you can email email@example.com.
Good luck with your growing!
We want to draw your attention to the many amazing local businesses in Greenwich. These businesses are committed to supplying great quality produce and delivering it straight to your door.
With all of us either in quarantine or self-isolating, home delivery has become an essential means of receiving food. Equally there are reports of many people being unable to get a home delivery slot with the supermarkets. Plus many items are selling out in the big stores meaning there is no guarantee of getting what you need. Because of this now is a great time to support the local suppliers within Greenwich.
Thankfully Greenwich is blessed with countless local businesses providing exceptional produce who are currently running a home delivery service.
It’s always been a great time to support the local suppliers. Shopping locally is better for the environment, keeps money within the community, supports skilful artisans and offers higher quality and more interesting produce. What’s more it helps to create and sustain a thriving, diverse and unique local Greenwich community.
We’ve been championing our local suppliers who are doing home delivery on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’ve also published a list of many of the Greenwich businesses who are offering home delivery just now.
Whether you’re after fresh vegetables, meat, take-away meals, groceries or a little wine to take the edge off after a trying day at home there is a local supplier who will deliver it straight to your door. Please support these suppliers so they’ll still be trading when we come out of quarantine.
A healthy community depends on many local suppliers operating within Greenwich and their success improves the quality of life for all who live in this borough.
Please join us in supporting our local suppliers and if we have missed any from our list please let us know on our social media pages or by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While this is an extremely hard time for everyone it also feels like a time when new healthier habits can be formed. With no restaurants open and more time at home it feels like a great opportunity to cook more meals from scratch with the Good Food in Greenwich one new recipe a week challenge.
Cooking a new meal is a great way to have fun on your own or with the family, learn a new skill and have the treat of a delicious, healthy meal to enjoy at the end of it.
As part of the Good Food in Greenwich network, GCDA recommends trying to eat more veggies and beans, and maybe reducing the amount of meat we eat. A plant based diet is more affordable, better for us and much better for the environment. Eating 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day helps us all feel better physically and mentally both now and in the future.
So why not use this time to commit to the challenge of trying at least one new recipe per week? When the quarantine is over you will have several amazing new dishes in the repertoire to enjoy and to share with friends and family. Please tag us and use the #GreenwichCooks and let us know how you get on!
The BBC has a great selection of recipes.
For the more experienced, or more adventurous try Ottolenghi
Or try Jack Monore, Cooking on a Bootstrap – loads of great recipes you can make form store cupboard ingredients or bits and pieces that don’t cost the earth!