In the early stages of the 21st Century, we seem fairly well-rooted in convenience culture. Banking is now available “24-7, 365”, a phone call will get those of us who crave pizza a result within half an hour or so and digital cameras enable us to take thousands of photographs when and where we like, with instantaneous results.
It is hardly surprising, considered in this context, that we have similar expectations when it comes to our food. Wherever we might look to apportion blame, we have, as a society of consumers, been trained to expect the food we want, where and when we want it, irrespective of its provenance or the time of year. As the natural order of things encompasses times of plenty and times when food and water are in short supply, we find ourselves at odds with the seasons and with the environment that supports us.
An encouraging development seems to be gaining ground recently as more and more people are engaging with the idea of growing their own fruit and veg. Those that do often report results that inspire them to grow more and to experiment with different varieties. People are discovering what fresh potatoes taste like and inevitably comparing them with the supermarket offerings that are selected for their appearance or shelf-life first and foremost.
The price you pay for your own fresh produce is that you have to do a bit of research, a bit of spade work, and a bit of forward planning. And of course you have to wait to see your results. All this balanced against the convenience of cramming a trolley with food at least once a week, secure in the statistical knowledge that up to 30% of it will go to waste.
If you’re interested in making a start at growing your own, try Plants for a Future: Edible and Useful Plants for a Healthier World, by Ken Fern.