Did you know there was a time when Girton was almost self-sufficient in food?
During the 1939-45 Second World War everyone in Girton was encouraged to grow as much food as possible. A Food Production Committee and Emergency Food Officer were appointed; vacant land was used for allotments; young men were encouraged to dig the gardens of those called up for military service; a Rabbit Club was formed; in the absence of a butcher’s and baker’s provisional arrangements were made for slaughtering cattle. At one time, so many tomatoes were grown that the excess were sent to Middlesbrough in the North East.
But why is local food important now?
Food miles: A large part of the carbon emissions which contribute to global warming are caused by the transport and packaging of food from around the world, much of which can be grown literally at our own doorstep.
Freshness & Taste: There is nothing like the taste and appeal of vegetables and fruit in season. Even jams, chutneys, frozen peas and beans from your own or local sources have an appeal of their own.
Cost: There are not just financial savings to be made to the household budget, but also reduced “carbon costs”, which we are coming to see are of prime importance.
Reconnection with our environment: We are increasingly cut off from the natural world by technology, gadgets etc. Reconnecting with one of the basic necessities for life – food, is a valuable way of learning to live again in harmony with nature.
Local Food Sources
Local shops: We are well served by local shops at the Post Office, Co-op, and Thornton Road. Some people try to use local shops at least once a week in order to keep these valuable local amenities in a healthy state.
- Impington Village College. 3rd Saturday morning each month. A wide range of produce from local areas.
- Cambridge Market – vegetables, fruit, bread etc. Well worth the visit when you are “in town”.
Daily Bread off Kings Hedges Road. Organic, fair trade produce with minimal packaging.
Arjuna Mill Road, Cambridge. Organic and fair trade produce to meet a wide range of ethnic tastes.
Roadside Stalls. Look out for these offering local produce – e.g. vegetables on the road from Histon, honey on the road from Oakington, neighbours with a glut in season.
Supermarkets. Make great claims to be responsive to customer choice. Choose and ask for locally produced goods which should show their source of origin. Take your own shopping bags!
Best of all! Your own garden, windowsill or allotment.
Where to get help and advice to grow your own
Girton Parish News – Liesbeth ten Ham’s monthly articles contain a wealth of useful information, suitable for the soils in Girton’s allotments and gardens.
Girton Allotment Society and Girton Garden Society are open to all. Gardeners are a sociable bunch, so feel free to just stop and chat or ask if you see someone getting good results.
Garden Organic (was the Henry Doubleday Research Association) produce a wide range of leaflets, seeds and a monthly magazine for members.
Radio and TV and newspapers – Gardeners’ Question Time, Gardeners’ World and similar programmes give regular tips and advice, appropriate to the time of year.
Seed packets – Follow the advice on the packet and you won’t go far wrong!