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A CREDIT CRUNCHING DAY OUT

Soaring food prices have meant that many families are cutting down on non-essentials, but instead of staying home and worrying, why not head to Southport Flower Show for a credit-crunching day out that could save you a small fortune over the next few months?

GROW YOUR OWN experts, including David Bellamy, will be on hand to show families how to grow their own food, whatever their size of plot - from a small window box to allotments.

David Jackson, Chief Executive, said: "The latest figures reveal that families are spending an average of £27 a week more on groceries than this time last year, so we understand that people are looking for ways to cut their bills. In addition to using the local traders who'll be exhibiting at the show, visitors can also take expert advice on growing their own food, whatever size of plot they have."

Allotments are a major feature at this year’s show, reflecting the massive interest in the grow your own movement. Dave Morris, from the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG), says it is becoming more popular for many reasons.

Dave added “It is the perfect activity for the whole family. Everyone can get involved and grow things. Our members are all ages and from all walks of life and they share one thing in common: they all agree that you can’t beat the great taste of home grown produce.”

Southport Flower Show takes place Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th August inclusive.

FREE ADMISSION. Southport Flower Show welcomes children under 16 free of charge when accompanied by at least one adult.

A MILLION REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL. The flower show's million blooms and a host of attractions will keep your mind off the credit crunch.

FACTS & FIGURES:

• Advance tickets are £14, or on the gate £17. Group discounts/incentives available.

• Southport Flower Show, a leading North West’s leading visitor attraction with around 80,000 visitors, is featuring allotments for the first time in response to visitor demand.

• As more and more people are becoming interested in growing their own, the National Society of Allotment and Leisure Gardeners (NSALG) will be on hand offering hints and tips on their Grow Your Own display showing how vegetables can flourish in limited spaces such as window boxes or back yards.

• Shop bought vegetables can cost 10 times more than own grown (this includes seeds, fertilizers, canes etc) – many families are turning to growing their own to help combat the credit crunch:

- For £1 you can plant 100 lettuce seeds!
- Prairie Fire Chillies: one bushy plant will give you a non-stop summer crop of hundreds of mini, atomically hot peppers - 30 seeds for £1.99
- Two courgette plants could provide you with up to 60 courgettes from June until October - cost of seeds 50p

• Saving money is not the only motive for growing your own - it is just a bonus from a hobby which provides a special thrill from growing and then eating your own.

• Health Benefits: ‘allotmenteering’ is a great stress-buster, helping you both mentally and physically. It is more productive and cheaper than the gym! You have the benefit of knowing exactly what you are eating and feeding to your family: no additives or chemicals, if growing organically the cost saving are even greater.

• Many PCTs and GPs are encouraging their patients to take up growing their own for stress relief and the social interaction it brings improves community spirit.

• Environmental; growing your own is greener and kinder to the environment: food travels metres not miles.

• Educational; teaches children about life, it is amazing that a tiny seed can grow into something 6 foot high in a matter of months. They know where food comes from and are keen to eat what they have grown.

• Taste: there is nothing better than growing and eating your own produce. For many vegetables, the natural sugars will start turning to starch within minutes of it being cut, a process that will rob, for example courgettes or sweet corn, of much of their beautiful sweet flavour. If you grow your own you can pick it fresh when you want it and enjoy a better taste.

• Greater varieties Almost 1,000 different varieties of vegetable can be grown in this country. Most vegetable seed catalogues contain a huge variety of each type of vegetable:

- 50 varieties of lettuce
- 15 varieties of radish
- 50+ varieties of potato
- 20+ varieties of chillies

• The NSALG has 80,000 members nationwide and there are 8,000 people on the waiting list in the North West alone for an allotment.

Ends.

For further information please contact Claire Murgatroyd or Lauren Trisconi on 01772 421 442 or email claire@mtjpr.co.uk

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