The increasing costs of living makes it more difficult for many people, particularly those with less income ( who often have lower diets) to afford healthy food choices. However, families in the UK continue to throw away an alarming amount of food items, which includes 68kg of fruits and vegetables per year.
Food waste isn’t just detrimental to your wallet and your wallet, but it’s bad for the environment as well. In the world, 1.3 billion tonnes of food are thrown away each year, producing around eight percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world. These emissions are caused by the inefficient use of food products at every stage of the chain of food production from the point of production until degradation.
Yet, our recent study showed that those who cultivate their own food on their gardens and allotments throw away on average 3.4kg of vegetables and fruits – a 95% reduction from that of the UK average. They adopted a variety of practices to minimize food waste, which included preserving or giving away their surplus produce.
There is an increase in interest in cultivating fresh vegetables in community gardens, allotments, and gardens in the UK as well as elsewhere in recent times. However, the supply of plots is inadequate to satisfy the increasing demand..
Affording more land to be used for vegetable and fruit production could be a major contribution to the supply of fresh food for urban dwellers.
Studies has revealed that only 10% space in Sheffield in the English Sheffield city Sheffield for food production could provide enough fruits and vegetables to satisfy the requirements of 15 percent of the city’s inhabitants. Also, having more people grow their own food can reduce the amount of waste.
Food waste is responsible for about eight percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
The study was conducted on 197 households across the UK who grow themselves their food. The study asked the households to keep the food diary in which they recorded how much vegetables and fruits they ate every week. We received complete food diary records from 85 households.
They noted whether each product was grown in their garden or allotment, purchased from markets or shops sourced from other growers, or harvested from the wilderness. The families also noted the amount of produce they donated to their family and friends, as well as the amount they needed to dispose of.
Our research suggests that those who cultivate their own food are more likely to avoid food waste than the average person living in the UK. This could be due to the fact that they place greater importance on the food they grown by themselves.
The findings are in line with previous research which has been conducted in Germany as well as Italy. The study revealed that the quantity of discarded food was the highest among those who shop exclusively at big supermarkets. Customers who bought products from smaller stores were more likely to eat less food, when those who grow their own food waste the most.
Our research suggests that the families we examined are able to produce around 50% of the vegetables and 20 percent of the fruit they consume each year. The households we studied consumed 70 percent more vegetables and fruits (slightly over six servings daily) than the average of the country.
A diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables to ensure a well-balanced, nutritious diet is vital to maintaining good health.
Create the food you need to ensure your security
Producing your own food at home will increase access to fresh vegetables and fruits, help improve health, and help reduce food waste. But, there are many obstacles that make it difficult to participate in household food production. This includes a lack of access to space, the skills and time required to cultivate your own fruits and vegetables.