Beginner gardeners show off their bounty. Photo by Tim Sidaway via One Pot Pledge.
The many U.K. residents who reportedly lack the confidence to grow their own food are being encouraged to start small by the nationwide One Pot Pledge campaign, which is asking Brits to sign up to grow just one edible plant this year -- and recruiting "gardening gurus" to help mentor the newbies along."Despite the surge in interest in 'grow your own,' many newcomers -- although keen to have a go -- still don't know where to start when it comes to food growing. Many are put off because they think they don't have space to garden, or because they don't have the time or knowledge," the organizers wrote in a recent release about the campaign.
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An unrelated survey last fall by the Soil Association showed that while "92 percent of Brits say that self sufficiency and traditional skills like growing your own food, crafting, and rearing your own livestock have become more and more important during the financial crisis," few felt equipped to introduce such habits into their own lives:
Lack of confidence in their skills could be holding Brits back from taking the plunge towards self sufficiency, with half admitting they have lost the practical skills of their grandparent's generation -- 45 percent admit they have fewer cooking skills, 47 percent say they are less able to grow their own food, 48 percent have lost the rural craft skills that make self sufficiency possible, and 51 percent say they would have no idea how to rear animals.
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The One Pot Pledge effort, sponsored by the organic-growing charity Garden Organic, aims to bring back some of that confidence by recruiting 30,000 people across the country to pledge to grow their own fruit, vegetables, and herbs for the very first time. The website offers tips, discounts on gardening products, and downloadable guides for growing 10 types of food, from basil to strawberries. Don't have a conventional plant pot? No problem. The recommended plants should thrive in "a yoghurt pot with holes punched in the bottom, an old bucket, a window box, or even a wheelbarrow."
Brits who catch the do-it-yourself bug can take more advanced steps toward self-sufficiency with the Soil Association's Organic Farm School courses, which offer hands-on training in beekeeping, chicken raising, vegetable growing, cider and cheese making, bread baking, wild-food foraging, willow weaving, hedge laying, canning and preserving, butchery and game preparation, and many other skills.
More about growing your own food:
7 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Food
Organic Gardening: Urban Garden Tips
5 Sprouts You Can Grow on Your Kitchen Counter!
10 Vegetables You Probably Aren't Growing But Should Be
How to Grow Potatoes in Old Tires
Build a Geodesic Dome Solar Greenhouse to Grow Your Own Food (Slideshow)
How Communities Grow Free Food (Video)