Hunt has begun for ‘good lifers’

A search has been launched to find 21st century ‘good lifers’ to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

NFU Countryside, one of the member magazines of the British National Farmer's Union (NFU), is exploring a number of themes including conservation, countryside access, the ‘Good Life’ and the land.

As part of this series, the magazine is trying to track down those with a passion for the ‘grow-your-own’ boom. Why did they start? Why did they stop? What benefits do they receive? And does it really save them money?

Countryside editor Martin Stanhope said: “We want to hear from people who have embraced the grow-your-own lifestyle, a movement with a truly fascinating history we want to explore.

“From its roots in the early 1950s, when rationing was in force, through the drop in the 60s, the years of ‘you’ve never had it so good’, with mass consumerism meaning families wanted to be on days out rather than tending the veg patch.

“In the 70s, with recession and the miner’s strike, the lights went out and mucking in became all the rage again, until the booms of the Thatcher and Blair years meant Britain became less reliant on home produced goods.

“Nowadays, austerity-hit Britain has once more fallen in love with growing your own. And this time around, with the backing of celebrity-chefs and a host of TV programs and magazines promoting the activity, it looks set to stay.

“We will feature the best stories in the next edition of Countryside magazine, and our top three favorite entrants will each receive some fantastic plug plant trainers from Urban Allotments.”

The Good Life, after which the “Good Lifers” are named, was a comedy series on British television in the mid- to late 1970s dealing with the issue of self-sufficiency in a suburban environment.

While it is true that the austerity in Britain is, to some extent, fueling the current grow your own trend there is more to it than just the austerity itself.

Many more actually want to grow their own because they want to know what they are eating and where it has come from and what it was treated with and also to reduce the food miles and the impact on the environment in general generated by growing food in distant places and then shipping the stuff to the stores.

© 2012