Memorandum submitted by Garden Organic (SFS 35)
1.0 Garden Organic
1.1 Garden Organic welcomes The UK Parliament
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee Inquiry - Securing food supplies
up to 2050: the challenge for the
1.2 Garden Organic is an organisation working
to inspire, encourage and support individuals and groups to grow organically.
This is achieved through research, demonstration, education and promotional
activities and we work with individuals growing on a domestic scale, with
groups growing on a community scale and with commercial fruit and vegetable
farmers growing for local and national markets. Garden Organic is a membership
organisation, with over 40,000 members. Over the last 15 years the organisation
has been one of the main research providers for Defra's Research and
Development programme on organic horticulture. The organisation also runs a
successful school education programme in over 5,000 schools in the
2.0 Summary of Garden Organic's submission to the inquiry
2.1 The role and potential of gardening and
home food production needs to be properly recognised within the
2.2 Support and investment in the
2.3 There should be increased support and investment for the development of localised and resilient food production systems - systems that depend on the use of renewable energy and are based on the principles and practices of organic agriculture.
2.4 New food security policies for the UK needs to consider the resilience of the food system in wider terms; not only considering short term shocks to the system, but also the longer term challenges facing the food system, everything from climate change to dietary change. Food and farming systems for the 21st century will need to be shaped to address the New Fundamentals as outlined by Barling, Lang and Sharpe, 2008.1
2.5 It is Garden Organic's view that the four points listed above (2.1-2.4) are all important within the debate and that they need to be addressed to ensure food security. In this response however, we have chosen to highlight the role of home food production in particular (2.1).
3.0 Gardening and home food production
3.1.1 Production of fruit and vegetables in
domestic gardens, community gardens, allotments, schools and on other communal
land can and should have an important role in ensuring
3.1.2 The role and potential of food production at
a domestic scale needs to be core in the forthcoming
3.3 Encouraging and supporting people to garden and produce some of their own fruit and vegetables will help to meet wide ranging government objectives; environmental and social objectives as well as objectives related to health and well being. In brief, the benefits of gardening and home food production are as follows:
3.3.1 Home food production can contribute towards ensuring food security by providing access to affordable fruit and vegetables for people.
3.3.2 Growing some of their own produce will influence people's dietary choices. It will increase consumption of fruit and vegetables and enable more people to reach the 5-a-day target.
3.3.3 Organic gardening, including home composting
and home food production, will help to address climate change issues by
reducing the carbon footprint of
3.3.4 Providing opportunities for people to reconnect we the food they eat will help to increase their awareness of food issues, for example the real value of food and the importance of reducing wastage of food.
3.3.5 The physical activity of gardening and access to gardens and green spaces will improve health and well being of people and support community cohesion.
3.3.6 Organic gardening will provide environmental benefits by maintaining and increasing biodiversity, including the conservation of genetic diversity of food crops, by improving the health of soils and protecting the stores of carbon in garden soils.
3.3.7 Use of domestic gardens for diverse plantings will provide areas for infiltration of rainwater and thus help to prevent flooding in urban areas.
4.0 Actions required
4.1 In the