Producing own food a growing trend in Timaru

Sales of vegetable seeds, seedlings and gardening products have increased in Timaru in the past...
Sales of vegetable seeds, seedlings and gardening products have increased in Timaru in the past year. Photo from Courier Files.
An interest in home-grown food has sprouted in Timaru during the past few years.

Staff at stores selling vegetable gardening equipment and seeds have noticed a great deal more customers now choosing to grow their fruit and vegetables themselves, rather than buying them at their local supermarkets.

Pleasant Point's Plantorama owner and operator Alister Davis, of Timaru, had noticed a huge increase in sales of vegetable garden equipment and seeds, with up to three times as many people buying these products over the past year.

Compared with last year, this year Plantorama had twice as many fruit trees to sell, and it had sold these fruit trees in half the amount of time, he said.

Mr Davis said people growing food at home was related to two trends.

He said along with the potential cost-saving benefits, people were more aware of the process food went through before it hit the shelves.

"People are now more aware of their dollars and are therefore more keen to spend time at home.

"People are also waking up to the idea that commercially sold vegetables have been sprayed a lot to be in the condition they are in."

Washdyke's Timaru Garden Centre owner and operator Nigel Chapman, of Timaru, said more people were definitely growing more potatoes, vegetables and fruit trees now than they had a few years ago.

He agreed the cost and increased education about the pesticides sprayed on food were reasons for this, adding it was also becoming trendy to grow your own food.

"The trend is that people see their neighbours [growing their own food] and they want to as well.

"It's better - you know what you're getting and it's fun."

He and Mr Davis had also noticed more young people were developing an interest in growing their own food.

"More youngsters in their 20s are getting involved now. Years back it was only older people," Mr Chapman said.

Healthy Balance nutritionist Liz Ford was pleased more people were eating fruit and vegetables.

"They are enriched with antioxidants and vitamins.

"It's also good for health to do exercise gardening and to be in the fresh air. You get vitamin D from the sun when you're in the garden."

Though she pointed out frozen vegetables were just as nutritious as home-grown ones, home-grown food was fresh, she said.

Mrs Ford said growing food at home was advantageous for parents who wanted their children to eat more fruit and vegetables.

- Cerisse Denhard


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