From window boxes and growbags to greenhouses and allotments, scientists need your help to measure the volume of own-grown fruit and vegetables across the UK in the first national estimate of the 21st century.
The MYHarvest survey, which will be the first since the famous Dig for Victory campaign during the Second World War, will assess the important contribution green-fingered fruit and vegetable growers make to national food security. It will also reveal how much allotment and garden space we need in the future for the growing number of people living in our cities and towns.
Anyone who grows their own produce is invited to take part in the innovative citizen science project, led by the University of Sheffield, to help determine the yield of typical UK staple fruit and vegetable crops.
We currently have a poor understanding of how much own-grown food is produced so the research is key to providing an evidence base to support the use of land for growing spaces within our towns and cities.
Dr Jill Edmondson, a soil scientist and ecologist from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, hopes the project will provide key insights into the ability of urban areas to contribute to UK food security.
She explains that, with over 80% of the UK population living in cities or towns that are currently dependent on imported fruit and vegetables, it’s important to understand how we can make our cities and towns more sustainable.
‘Allotment holders and gardeners are helping us determine the extent to which own-grown food contributes to UK food security and sustainability. Urban green spaces, for example, parks, allotments, gardens, wasteland, provide a multitude of options for areas where food crops can be grown.
‘Anyone who grows their own fruit or veg, even if it’s only a small patch for carrots, can join in and simply log information on the MYHarvest website about what they are growing, where, and how much they have produced.’
DR JILL EDMONDSON
Soil scientist and ecologist