I’m not going to pretend I’m the best in town, hardly that, but a big part of my journey to being a more sustainable and planet conscious human, started with the simple decision to start growing my own food.
Sounds pretty basic when you consider the act itself doesn’t solve the current climate crisis dead in its tracks, but I feel it’s the single greatest act I can do as a planetary citizen to reduce my contribution to the negative impacts our food system has on our environment.
For a little context, I started this journey in early 2019, with a small 6ft by 4fy balcony, a giant trough and a healthy batch of cherry tomato seedlings! I didn’t really have much of a clue what I was doing, other than lets sow the seeds and see what happens. That quickly evolved into growing rosemary, thyme, courgette, beetroots, green chillies, sunflowers and even a batch of potatoes. I think I even managed to get an avocado pip to germinate, but quickly learnt tropical plants need a very good balance of heat and humidity to growing.
The more I gained an interest in growing and with the success I achieved with my small balcony in a corner of sub-urban London, the more my confidence grew! Like any good student I turned to my trusty friend You-Tube to connect me to a manner of “balcony gardeners”, allotment owners, and even small scale growers, and that’s when my horizons really expanded. I went from someone who once believed you could hardly grow anything in England, to learning just how much product could be at our fingertips, if we were willing to learn how to simply feed ourselves, not to mention the reduction in Carbon Emissions that home grown food contributes to, (it’s literally taking veggies from the garden straight into the kitchen).
My world was well and truly opened, and I’m still learning as I go. Over time this has evolved to the present day, where I am turning the back garden of my home into an urban micro-farm producing all manner of fruit and veg to feed my family! I realized what a waste a lawn in a backyard is and how productive we could all start making our backyards, not just for ourselves, but for all manner of creatures that share space with us! I’m now officially well into my 4th growing season, and this time I have a large garden to convert into a productive paradise for myself and all those who share it with me!
So for any of you who are curious as to how you can get started, Id suggest start with a few simple steps, picking things you know you will eat, saving some seeds from the fruit you eat or taking clippings of your favorite herbs and keeping them in water until they sprout roots all form a great starting point. The most important ingredient here is a curiosity and appetite to learn. You don’t need lots of fancy equipment, any if that, just your hands and a willingness to try! Re-using old containers and pots around the house is always a great starting point and then just take it from there!
On a final note, taking this journey of becoming an Urban grower as I like to call myself, has had the greatest impact on my mental health! Being an entrepreneur, and consultant, im often wearing multiple hats throughout the day, and constantly fire-fighting and troubleshooting for my clients. So it’s nice to have some time to just switch off the laptop, throw on some of my favorite “chooons” and get my hands dirty for me to zone out and zen down!