A poll commissioned by the City of London shows that nearly one third of British adults grow their own veggies, believing it is better for them than supermarket bought vegetables.
Many modern foods contain significantly fewer nutrients than they did a century ago, a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data shows. According to the report, the calcium content of broccoli averaged 12.9 milligrams per gram of dry weight in 1950, but only 4.4 mg/g dry weight in 2003.
Researchers found an individual would have to eat eight oranges today to derive the same amount of Vitamin A as our grandparents would have received from one fruit.
As a result of these findings, Good to be Home, the digital magazine of Anglian Home Improvements, have created an interactive vegetable growing guide, which has become a popular tool amongst homeowners. From nurturing a few fresh herbs on their window sill to taking trips to a local allotment, more homeowners are educating themselves on how to grow their own vegetables.
The main culprit for the decline of nutrients in our vegetables is soil depletion; modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food we eat grows.
Donald Davis and his team of researchers from the University of Texas (UT) explained that the farmers who are focusing strictly on increasing yield have given us higher-yielding varieties that are less nutrient dense. His 2004 study showed the average nutrient decline in fruits and vegetables between 1950 and 1999 was about 15 per cent.
Davis said: “Efforts to breed new varieties of crops that provide greater yield, pest resistance and climate adaptability have allowed crops to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to manufacture or uptake nutrients has not kept pace with their rapid growth.”
With more awareness of the importance of eating healthily, many people are turning to homegrown vegetables to avoid fertilisers and other intensive agricultural methods. Leatherhead Food Research’s report, Diet, Health and Obesity in the UK: State of the Nation 2012, reveals that over 80% of consumers in 2012 claimed to follow a healthy diet – highlighting an increase of 10% since 2004.
By maintaining your own vegetable garden, you will help to reduce the chemical load from fertilisers and pesticides entering our waterways and help keep our soil healthy by minimising biomass depletion.