Saturday, October 03, 2009

Eco Living - Polytunnel vs Supermarket

Here is the inside of a polytunnel in case you've not seen one before. It's a good example of the difference between high-impact and lower-impact living. Its a cheap alternative to a greenhouse and lets you grow a greater variety of stuff through more of the year than you could just planting stuff outside. Getting food this way is a lot different to getting it from the supermarket:

- growing it all takes a fair bit of time, weeding sowing etc etc
- food takes a lot more preparation
- it may have been nibbled by bugs etc
- the energy it took to make the polytunnel
- you have a reduced range of food available - especially in winter

- it tastes much better
- it's fresh
- it hasn't been packaged, repackaged and repacked
- waste goes into the compost and directly back to the soil
- its free of pesticides and other chemicals
- you spend more time with nature and the seasons
- your food has been grown with a fraction of the energy of supermarket food (there may have been 400 plus fossil energy calories used up for every single supermarket food calorie - and then we waste 40% of that...)
- hopefully its more or less on your doorstep
- and I don't know about you but I prefer to spend time in a garden than in a bloomin supermarket

So get cracking! if you haven't got space for a polytunnel at least start a patch or a window box so that you can grow some stuff. Try something easy like potatoes and experiment with easy no dig growing - and check out "Square Foot Gardening" - lots of food in a little space with minimum effort. One day before terribly long you may be very glad of any food growing skill you've picked up and who knows, you'll maybe live somewhere with a polytunnel.

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