I’m harvesting daily on the allotment at the moment. I haven’t purchased any green vegetables, potatoes or lettuce from the store in some time, in fact I think the only thing that I have been regularly buying as fresh produce is mushrooms (I don’t grow them), radish (I’ve had a total crop failure this year), tomatoes (mine aren’t ready) and cucumber (harvested the first one this morning, so not going to be buying any next week). I love it.
All of this wonderful food, grown by me and eaten by my family (with a nod to the slugs and pigeons who help themselves!). It got me to thinking about the savings on the shopping bill, which are noticeable, but then what has it actually cost me? Well I think this is maybe something I’m going to look at in detail next year, because it’s a complicated equation for the allotment. It’s not just the cost of the seed / plants, but also things like netting to protect the plants from the pigeons, cabbage collars etc. etc. and putting a figure on my time is difficult.
Ultimately it’s not just about the monetary value though. It’s about other issues.
Trace-ability of the produce for example, I know exactly what has happen to everything I grow from the moment I planted the seed / plant to the time it’s been harvested. I know exactly how fresh it is from the moment it’s harvested to the time it appears on the plate and I know how it’s been processed and prepared. These are things that it is very easy for me to track, but probably nigh on impossible for a store to be able to do the same to the level of detail that I have. For me though these are some of the most important elements. I have my own fully traceable plot nearly on my doorstep and it’s putting food on my plate daily at the moment, and I’m trying to stretch this to a longer season all the time. My biggest challenge is deciding what to eat next!