Dig your way to victory in war on spending
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Sheena Grant’s year of thrifty living Time was almost everyone had a vegetable patch. Indeed, during the Second World War the country was all-but transformed into one giant allotment as Churchill’s government encouraged the nation to Dig for Victory.
It could, of course, be argued that many of the ancient meadows and grasslands that were lost during that time dealt an almost knock-out blow to Britain’s biodiversity. But that’s an issue for another day.
The Dig for Victory campaign was hugely successful and for decades afterwards many kept digging. I remember my own idyllic early childhood, with a beautiful orchard garden and my dad always busy growing something or chopping firewood.
But then something happened. Was it the advent of cheaper food? Did we become divorced from our rural heritage? Who knows. But one way of the other, we don’t grow our own on the scale we used to.
I’ve dabbled in vegetable growing. I even shared an allotment with a friend for a while before it all got too much (it’s seriously hard work). But you can’t claim to have embraced thrift without tilling a bit of soil and I think I’ve discovered the perfect way to do it.
It’s called a community allotment and we’ve got one not far from where I live, run by Eastfeast, a team of professional gardeners, artists and teachers working with schools and the wider community on ‘growing’ projects. My son and I have our own vegetable bed in Leiston. Eastfeast (www.eastfeast.co.uk) even sends a man called Andy, usually once a month, who strims the grass and - best of all - helps us with the spadework and seed planting.
At the moment, this fabulous little project is one of Suffolk’s best kept secrets. There’s currently only a couple of families who take part, but there’s room for more (although that would, of course, mean we’d have to share Andy!). The idea is that the work is manageable, sociable and, if enough of you take part, less onerous.
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We went at the weekend and planted tomatoes, beetroot, carrots and lettuces. My son also dug a big hole. Needless to say, he had a great day out.
There are other community allotments across the county. They’ll save you money, get your outdoors, perhaps improve your eating habits and get you meeting new people. What’s not to like?
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