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October 15, 2011

Save our Vegetables!

by Val Reynolds

Yellow tomatoesA Most Suitable Gardener’s Gift

This opportunity of supporting a charity and helping to save a rare vegetable variety under threat of extinction will appeal to many gardeners with a sense of history and future preservation of vegetable varieties, especially if they grow plants from seed.

Britain’s leading organic growing charity, Garden Organic, offers the perfect green gift by encouraging people to Adopt a Veg.

Adopt a Veg logo

The organisation looks after over 800 varieties of rare and heirloom vegetables in its Heritage Seed Library (HSL), and is offering people the chance to adopt one of these vulnerable varieties through it’s Adopt a Veg scheme, preventing them from becoming extinct.

Red tomatoes, heritage seedFor over thirty years the charity has been campaigning to save Britain’s traditional vegetable varieties, which are threatened by commercial pressures and EU red tape, and argues that some of these varieties may save us from a world food shortage.

Garden Organic’s head of the Heritage Seed Library, Sandra Slack, explains: “Without maintaining a range of vegetable varieties there is a very real threat to our food supply. Diversity of varieties means crops are less likely to fall foul of pests and diseases on a massive scale, and with a changing climate this can only become more and more important.

“Believe it or not the Victorians once grew 120 different tall garden pea varieties, but today, due to a range of pressures, only one tall pea variety remains. Many rare vegetable species have unique characteristics that make them suitable for growing in a wide range of conditions. We need to ensure we are not relying on one or two main varieties for our food source.”

Tomato, heritage seedBy Adopting a Veg you can contribute to protecting these varieties, you will also be helping to protect the biodiversity of our planet. It costs just £20 and will help to pay for seed handling, storage and propagation facilities, as well as the staff needed to look after the ever-expanding collection.

Brussel sproutsYou will receive a certificate of adoption for one year, background information on your adopted variety and a gift card designed by artist-in-residence, Lesley Davis. Most importantly you will have the personal satisfaction that you are helping to keep alive part of the UK’s precious vegetable heritage.

Frequently asked questionsTo Adopt a Veg visit call 02476 308210 to choose from their extensive list.

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