In decades gone by, it would have been the norm to pluck your own vegetables from the garden before rustling up a super fresh, home-cooked meal. But in recent years supermarkets have enjoyed a boom in popularity, meaning the trend of growing your own fruit and veg has almost been resigned to the history books.
Now though, a new study has revealed that Aussies aren’t ready to shun the old ways entirely just yet as the results showed that while many people do not currently have a veggie patch at home, an overwhelming majority of people would like to start producing their own herbs or vegetables rather than buying them in store.
The survey – which was carried out by Woolworths ahead of the launch of their new Discovery Garden program which kicks off today – revealed that more than 40 per cent of Australians do not currently grow their own produce, however 70 per cent of these admitted they would like to.
However, while there is an increasing desire to take up the hobby, growing your own veggies is at risk of becoming a forgotten pastime as the number of people planting their own herbs, fruit and vegetables has decreased by 10 per cent in recent years compared to the previous generation.
All hope may not be lost yet though as the results also unveiled a growing consciousness among parents about the importance of fresh food, with 90 per cent of those questioned believing it is important for their kids to understand where fresh produce comes from. While seven in 10 admitted they place as much importance of the topic as core subjects such as English, science and maths.
“Learning about fresh food, where it comes from, how it grows, how long it takes to grow, whether it’s easy or challenging are all questions that will encourage meaningful discussions at home, at school and even at work,” Woolworths Fresh Food Kids Programs Manager, Sarah De La Mare said.
“Along with all of the positive mental, physical and economical benefits of gardening, we also want to unearth the joys of growing your own fresh herbs, vegies and flowers – from planting the seedling, celebrating the first sprout through to harvesting and eating what you have grown. After planning this program for the past year, we cannot wait for our customers gardens to flourish across Australia.”
The survey results also revealed what people believe to be the main benefits of growing your own, with 70 per cent citing healthier eating habits and 66 per cent claiming the biggest gain is educating youngsters about where fresh food comes from. While 84 per cent of those surveyed said that growing your own produce is beneficial for mental health
Woolworths’ new Discovery Garden scheme follows on from the huge success of the supermarket’s Lion King Ooshies program, which came under fire due to the amount of plastic used. Now, regular shoppers will instead receive free plants, receiving a seedling kit for every $30 they spend online or in store. The new program was announced last month, taking its inspiration from similar successful schemes in New Zealand and South Africa.
The new program will give Woolies shoppers the chance to collect a total of 24 seed kits for various herbs and plants, including spinach, pansy, bok choi and tomato.
Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish added: “It is important that young people are aware of the natural environment and have an understanding of where their food comes from.A program like the Woolworths Discovery Garden enables children of all ages to learn about biodiversity and how to grow their own food.
“By actively getting their hands dirty to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs, Woolworths are empowering the next generation of Australians to create their own living garden at home or at school.”