The National Food Strategy: Part One highlights the importance of eating well. The report contains urgent recommendations to support the country through the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and preparations for the end of the EU exit transition period in December. Poor diet has a negative effect on our quality of life and the report calls for changes to encourage a shift to more healthy and less processed foods, particularly for children.
The cultural aspect of food plays an important role in diet and the report notes that the UK does not put as high a value on food and cooking as our continental neighbours. However, it indicates that the recent lockdown restrictions did see a growth in people buying local and cooking food from scratch. We have previously shared Huxham Cross Farm’s experience, on the Biodynamic Land Trust’s land in Devon, where demand for veg boxes increased from 60 to 200. This shift to sourcing from box schemes was evident elsewhere around the country.
Growing food to maximise health and vitality is a key aspiration of biodynamics. While much of this food will be grown by farmers on a field scale, home grown produce, be that in gardens or even on window-sills, can make an important contribution to our diets. In addition to the nutritional value of such produce, the wider mental health and well-being benefits of gardening are widely recognised. It also provides a reconnection to the land and food, and can help make the link from the garden to the farm scale.
biodynamic gardening club
However, growing or cooking such produce may require guidance, particularly if you haven’t tried it before. Within the biodynamic movement, the Biodynamic Gardening Club (BGC), can offer help. Launched last year by the Biodynamic Association, the BGC is an online, vibrant, mutually supporting gardening club for anyone curious about the biodynamic approach and practices.
The BGC is currently running a programme of webinars, including a Cooks Garden series. This aims to bridge the gap between the kitchen and the garden. Lynda Brown and Daphne Lambert share their lifetimes’ experience of how to get the best out of your produce in the kitchen; how to harvest and store it; what goes with what; and the simplest, full of health and flavour ways to enjoy it.
The first webinar, ‘Green Beans Galore’, took place on 30th July and is available to watch here. The next, on tomatoes, will take place on 27th August. For more information about the BGC and how to join, see the Biodynamic Association website here.