Its National Allotment Week and, despite the generally dismal August weather, I’ll be heading to the plot, I wouldn't miss it for the world. I have always grown food to some extent, as it makes me innately happy, finding a quiet satisfaction in the tending, harvest and eating of anything nurtured from seed.
However, I started to grow food in earnest at the beginning of last year while experiencing a very stressful time in life. Focusing on it gave me a distraction and bought a calm and happiness when nothing else could. A year on, and I find myself with a fully edible garden, a food jungle of an allotment and a career in horticulture. Without question, growing food is good for the mind. I spend hours weeding, digging, and hauling sacks of compost about, and I always return home with mud under my nails, dirty jeans and gently aching muscles, a sign of a satisfying days work. Gardening is a physical activity, gets the blood pumping and fills the lungs with fresh air. What could be better than a full body work out where you return with armfuls of home grown goodies? And that brings me to the final and arguable best health benefit of allotments. Freshly grown fruit and veg has substantially higher levels of vitamins and minerals that anything you buy in shops. From the moment they are picked, nutrient levels begin to drop, so the sooner you eat it, the better it is for you. Plus, it gives you the chance to do away with any nasty chemicals without shelling out for extortionate organic produce. So there you have it, allotments are good for the mind, body and soul, what could be better than that?!
Author credit: Lucy Start