21 Aug 2020 | Dillon Seitchik-Reardon & Mat Pember
Growing your own veggies isn't only for people with a massive garden or tonnes of space. Growing food can be achieved by anyone, anywhere, as proven by Dillon Seitchik-Reardon and Mat Pember in Grow. Food. Anywhere. To have a successful veggie garden you only need a few things...
At The Little Veggie Patch Co our primary interest has always been to get as many people growing food as possible, no matter their level of experience or space available. You don’t have to quit your job and move to the country to enjoy a garden. Whether growing mint in a pot or farming a 3-acre block, there is a certain intangible joy in every homegrown harvest. Food simply tastes better when we grow it ourselves, and that joy is compounded if we can share it with friends and family. We want people to have success early on, so that they have the confidence to continue their own food journey.
We all grow for different reasons and no one is more or less valid than the next. For some people it is an exploration into the natural diversity of plants that are not found in a conventional supermarket. It is an opportunity to tap into varieties that are not economically viable on a large scale. We don’t have to worry about trans-portability or regular shapes. We get to make taste and experience our sole priorities.
Others may feel that growing their own food is a middle finger to the modern system of over-fertilised, intensively farmed, mass-produced food. It’s a rejection of an agricultural industry that ignores the seasons, adds travel miles by transporting over long distances (think of all that carbon!) and is more concerned with how food looks than whether it’s nutritious.
Take the fruit formerly known as the tomato. Degraded through decades of intense agricultural practice, there has been no greater fall from glory. The once truly great culinary beast has become too hard, uniform and tasteless. Its evolution serves no other purpose than to transport well and look good on supermarket shelves. The saddest thing is that such paltry fruit quality has not only become acceptable, it is what we expect.
For many people, the fate of the tomato has been a tipping point that has fuelled the homegrown movement. Rather than accepting its fate, home growers are re-colouring the food spectrum, and the change is trending. More and more of the 3000 weird and wonderful varieties of tomato are finding their way to our plates – and the popularity of home growing has started to spur change in supply chains.
The purpose of this book is to help everyone make a start in growing their own food, even in the smallest of spaces. One of the biggest barriers to edible gardening is the fear of not knowing where to begin. Here we hope to dispel the mystery, because growing food is neither difficult nor time-consuming. Rather, it is something that everyone can do, no matter your location, ideology, origin or experience. It can easily become part of your daily routine.
As people who were born to immigrant families of immigrant nations, we recognise the power we have in growing food. It is how we share our culture and what bonds us so closely to our past and present. Food has a remarkable ability to break down barriers and connect seemingly different people in a shared experience. You don’t even have to speak the same language to enjoy a meal with someone.
We hope to inspire growers to find the same simple practicality and enjoyment that we experience every time we are in the garden. It is an absolute luxury to be able to grow food for fun, and although your motivations can be as serious or as light-hearted as you want them to be, the food that you put on your table will make a difference to your life.
As a couple of guys who learn best from doing, we hope to show rather than tell. There are different plants and infrastructure and growing styles suited to virtually all spaces, from traditional in-ground gardens to the balconies of high-rise buildings. Whether the end goal is to grow a single radish or to feed your family for a year, we want this book to guide your exploration of modern gardening, because whatever your reason, whatever your location, whatever your ability, there has never been a better time to grow food – and it’s possible to grow food anywhere.
This is an edited extract from Grow. Food. Anywhere. by Dillon Seitchik-Reardon & Mat Pember
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