Growing your own food is good for the planet and for your pocketbook – so why don’t people grow their own food? It’s a really good question (particularly for those who choose to live in the suburbs to have a backyard), and we really should be growing locally. There are more and more people saying that governments of all sizes ought to encourage people to grow their own grub.
Well, opinion formers such as Monty Don showing the way forward is always going to help. That’s why I really like the idea of the WHO Farm Project in the US. It’s an attempt to convince Barack Obama to also reach for the spade when he takes the keys to the White House in January and symbolically dig up the famous front lawn in order to toss in some vegetable seeds. It’s exactly what the Roosevelts did during the second world war and it helped to inspire over 20m so-called “Victory Gardens” across the US.
The garden at 10 Downing St isn’t blessed with quite as many rods of prime growing land, but Buckingham Palace, and other world-famous sites across the UK, certainly are. It’s not as if a decent veg patch needs to take up that much room. And just think of all those other wasted spaces where veg could easily be grown – parks, verges, roundabouts (OK, that might be a little dangerous) and all those monoculture corporate HQ landscaped gardens.
And if Gordon Brown, or any other leader, is thinking about their legacy, what would be better than knowing a vegetable variety has been named after you in recognition of your services to vegetable gardening. The problem for the grateful public would be deciding which vegetable should represent which leader …