Growing more at home

One of the big wins from current changes should be more home grown food. There is a big opportunity for farmers as we leave the EU and as people respond to environmental and pandemic concerns.

I was therefore heartened to read of the large investment in glasshouse capacity in Norfolk and Suffolk. The combined investment could produce 12% of U.K. demand for tomatoes and sweet peppers. They will be heated by waste heat from a water plant.

It makes little sense to truck so many fruits and vegetables hundreds of miles from Spain or to ship them from Holland when we can produce them for ourselves. It was the vagaries of the CAP, subsidy and tariff policy that led to a sharp decline in U.K. market share in our own market.

I look forward to other similar announcements.


  1. Mark B
    September 17, 2020

    Good morning

    It is not just home grown produce but, cheaper sourced produce from non-EU countries. No longer will the UK shopper be tied to a rigged market, we can get things at a lower cost thereby increasing our spending power especially for the less well off.

    We should, wherever possible, encourage people to grow more of their own food. More apple, pear and cherry trees and vegetables.

    Dig for Britain 😉

    1. Andy
      September 17, 2020

      You are welcome to dig.

      I’ll be going to the supermarket, but thanks for the offer.

      1. Edward2
        September 17, 2020

        If you want to help reduce climate change, which judging by your posts you are passionate about, then buying food grown or made locally is a good and simple way of doing your bit.
        Or even growing your own at home or having an allotment.

        1. margaret howard
          September 17, 2020


          “..having an allotment”

          You will have to learn to be patient though:

          07/04/2020 · Shed retailer Power Sheds sent freedom of information requests to councils across the UK and found that as of 2019, there are 90,000 people waiting for a space at one of the 300,000 council-run allotments across the UK.

          1. Edward2
            September 18, 2020

            Another failure of mainly Labour and Lib Dem run local councils.
            Hardly any waiting list here in a Conservative run local authority.

        2. Denis
          September 18, 2020

          I don’t know about climate change but if one wants to reduce pollution, resource depletion, housing problems, water scarcity etc., etc., etc then only drasic population reduction will address these problems so don’t hold your breath as even Attenborough daren’t mention it.

      2. Know-Dice
        September 17, 2020

        And that would be in your electric car powered by batteries produced with the help of child labour in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

      3. Fred H
        September 17, 2020

        Andy – you’ll starve. That neighbourly wonderful, caring, democratic, leading-the-way organisation called the EU is going to ban food exports to UK.
        The countries in the dictatorship, oops sorry, the benevolent 27, will force loss of production and jobs merely to be spiteful and try to starve us….
        Start home planting now!

      4. Mike Wilson
        September 17, 2020

        You clearly don’t give a toss about the environment and climate change. Sheer laziness – buying fruit and vegetables flown in every day from all over the world. When the full comes, people guilty of destroying the environment will surely be first on the list. Instead of we old codgers tending our gardens and allotments.

        1. Mike Wilson
          September 17, 2020

          When the cull comes.

      5. Hope
        September 17, 2020

        I thought all EU rules and laws will be transferred at the end of the vassalage? Is this level playing field by another name? This is what’s the useless Eustice department was confirming was it not? It was reported DefRA and MoD still rogue against the U.K. leaving the EU by using underhand tactics. You might recall MoD civil servants advocating dishonest KitKat policy to hide true costs and ties to EU. Can we trust your got to make sure this does not happen? When will May be investigated for this?

        I advocate everyone buy British, not Republic of Ireland, look at the packaging and British. Failing that anything non EU. I bought New Zealand apples from M&S the other day. Very nice. I like how the shop labels where the produce comes from. I actively avoid any country in the EU.

    2. Lifelogic
      September 17, 2020

      Victoria Plums, cobnuts, fresh walnuts, loganberries, tayberries, sharp bilberies, red/black currents and damsoms plus lovely crisp & sharp british apples please.

      Also gooseberries, chicory, celeriac, leaks, garlic and garlic spears, parsnips, beetroot, asparagus, decent waxy and salad potatoes like ratte and pink fir apple please. Things in season & not cira 12 months old like many supermarket apples can be – where possible. Plus more interesting and tasty salads.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        September 17, 2020

        The seasonal comment is particularly valid @LL but your list has made me look forward to lunch.

        The key is that these products need to provide better value for the customer and that there is no gauging post leaving the EU.

      2. agricola
        September 17, 2020

        Yes seaonal food would be good for the planet. It is one of the marked differences when shopping for food in Spain. This month it is figs. January for fresh oranges and mandarinas. Then come strawberries, later cherries and even later apricots. Lemons are all the year round and even the gin to go with them is markedly cheaper. There is a lot to be said for eating seasonally, always something to look forward to.

      3. Everhopeful
        September 17, 2020

        Quality of fruit and veg has plummeted.
        We need to get back to growing decent stuff again.
        “Discovery”…the late August, first English apple on the shelves, small, red and crisp with an unmistakeable flavour. Banked up, Christmas celery after the first frost..delicious enough to eat on its own with just a dash of salt.

        At one time we ate properly and in season.

        And now they wonder why there is an obesity problem.

        Our orchards were ripped up to suit the EU and casual pickers were stymied by benefits. That is what finished off the flower industry in The West Country.

        However, how does agriculture fit in with Boris’ plan to “concrete up” or whatever destructive phrase he used the other day?
        Can’t build over fields AND grow enough.

      4. margaret howard
        September 17, 2020


        Most of your berries come from Scotland. What will you do when they leave the union in a couple of years time?

        1. Edward2
          September 17, 2020

          Are you claiming that they will refuse to sell to their closest and biggest market?

        2. Fred H
          September 17, 2020

          only because UK chooses to buy – I grow them here in Wokingham.

        3. Ian Turner
          September 18, 2020

          Since more than 60% of all Scottish exports come to the rest of the UK, I think a better question might be what would the Scots do if they leave?

      5. Hope
        September 17, 2020

        Dairy herds decimated from cheap rigged EU markets. Do we have enough supply of milk other than the EU?

        Stop buying RoI agriculture products. No friends of ours as we have seen for the last three years. No more illegal breaking treaty bail outs for them. The EU did break that international treaty to bail out countries, as Germany broke the international treaty over Syrian migrants. Why has Bob Neal MP and Mayhab not raised these issues? May was PM when the treaties were broken as was Cameron. Cameron loaned our taxes to RoI knowing it broke a treaty!! Why have the remain traitors who actively acted against the public mandate not made sure there was balance in their comments?

    3. Mike Wilson
      September 17, 2020

      Nice idea. Shame that most houses have gardens the size of a postage stamp.

    4. Sir Joe Soap
      September 17, 2020

      Well we have lost orchard capacity next to us to build houses.
      Trees felled to house the nuova Britannia.
      Also farmland nearby, so any new planting won’t be particularly local

    5. margaret howard
      September 17, 2020

      Mark B

      I remember those pre EU times when we relied on home grown produce only too well. You obviously don’t or you wouldn’t want us to go back to those days.

      1. Edward2
        September 17, 2020

        CAP ruined that.

      2. Ian Turner
        September 18, 2020

        I remember them quite well too Margaret – what exactly was wrong with our home grown produce?

        1. Dennis
          September 18, 2020

          IT – well I remember in the late 40s and 50s shucking peas from their pods and flicking out the few peas being enjoyed by maggots. But it showed that the peas were not poisoned with sprays and they tasted so good many were eaten raw there and then.

    6. dixie
      September 17, 2020

      Agree – we taught our children to grow their own food and our eldest has turned most of their garden over to fruit and veg.

      We grow all our tomatoes, beans, kale, spinach, lettuce, rocket, squash, courgette and radishes over the summer, the surplus toms and beans being frozen for the rest of the year for curries, stews and pasta sauces.

      We plan on branching out with peppers, fruit and herbs, beyond our mint and rosemary.

      Home grown has much more flavour than supermarket produce and earlier on meant we had no supply problems.

      We use pots and no-dig beds so it’s quite a relaxing activity.

      1. Fred H
        September 17, 2020

        invest in some raspberry and blackcurrant bushes – normally you get quite a return even in the first year – then with almost no attention other than water enjoy nature’s bounty. Mix the fruit that perhaps isn’t perfect to eat with ice cream, or whatever – try cooking the less good, makes a wonderful addition to porridge or poured over various puddings. Keep in the fridge and it will last for days depending on how much you had to cook at a time. Read up on thinning the dead wood each year keeping the new growth (i’m not talking about politicians here!).

        1. dixie
          September 18, 2020

          Thanks Fred – we are considering summer raspberries as candidates for a row of 3 posts which have been released from trellis duty.

          Still need to decide on ack-ack or netting to keep the wildlife off.

  2. DOM
    September 17, 2020

    That’s a relief, cheap peppers. Now when can I get to see a NHS specialist to check out my cancer growth or maybe force the DVLA to issue me a new licence or maybe get a doctor’s appointment for my epilepsy drugs. Eh, just as long as we get have access to domestically grown cheap peppers. Now, all is well with the world

    The Labour controlled, unionised public sector holding people to ransom, we pay their wages but the Tory party cheers at the prospect of cheaper peppers

    Your party needs to look at itself cos you have become utterly redundant in what this nation now needs

    The British people do not exist to serve the needs of your party and that malignant presence in opposition

    1. Narrow Shoulders
      September 17, 2020

      Small acorns @Dom, I prefer evolution to revolution, less messy.

    2. SM
      September 17, 2020

      Why should one exclude the other?

      Cheaper food is good for the many whose income will have dropped severely or who are out of work.

      A better home market for home-produced food will improve employment in all areas connected with agriculture.

      And surely all the environmentalists will be pleased at the prospect of lessening road traffic?

    3. Sir Joe Soap
      September 17, 2020

      Well the NHS don’t use the 5 whys. They get to one then stop.

      Don’t go to GPs
      Why? They might get infected.
      Why? Because the NHS can’t get its testing act together.
      Why? Because the NHS can’t organise itself. Period.

      Don’t go to A & E
      Why? They’re too full with corona patients.
      Why? Because the NHS can’t get its testing act together.
      Why? Because the NHS can’t organise itself. Period.

      Call 111
      Why? Because it’s the quickest way. You get directed to a specialist more efficiently.
      Why didn’t you do it before then? Because the NHS can’t organise itself. Period.

      This organisation needs closing down except for A & E emergencies, which should legally have to open to all comers and find space somewhere.
      Give insurance companies a year to come up with competing policies and stop funding the whole thing. Give everyone £2000 tax back, sell the hospitals and staff off and let the insurance companies and therefore consumer decide where they go for anything but emergency service.

    4. Lynn Atkinson
      September 17, 2020

      We are cheering Brexit Dom. It enables us to deal with the collapsing Socialist Public Sector which can no longer even pretend to be ‘coping’.

    5. Hope
      September 17, 2020

      Once more JR fails to to explain the policy issues that his govt. are pursuing through the relevant department, DeFRA. He also fails to say what he and his Govt are going to do to rid itself from ties to the EU to be a true independent sovereign nation state so that consumers can have choice of good quality cheap food as promised.

      Is Johnson on the verge of another two U turns? One for Brexit-fish and level playing field the other IMB?

  3. Adam
    September 17, 2020

    Close, simple and efficient food growth is better than having a far worse twisted CAP that obstructed our capability to see sense.

    1. Peter Wood
      September 17, 2020

      This year near me, many acres of wheat went un-harvested; it was left to rot in the fields and only 2 weeks ago finally cut. Has anyone else seen this? Why this waste?

  4. Newmania
    September 17, 2020

    If it was cost effective to grow tomatoes here we would be doing it now .
    Personally I like the wide variety of cheap and tasty food we import from Europe . If some of you wish to pay twice as much for a BRITISH tomato, you are welcome to do so right now.

    Do it for ourselves sounds nice but, the Good Life was just a TV show.

    1. Andy
      September 17, 2020

      The Good Life was made by the woke Maxist snowflake BBC.

      Defund them because of something about Gary Linekar and Emily Maitlis.

      1. beresford
        September 17, 2020

        ‘The Good Life’ was made long before the BBC and our other institutions became seriously infected with Marxism. It should be defunded or cleaned out because of its anti-British woke propaganda. Apparently it recently asserted that the Colston statue was ‘symbolically lowered into the harbour’, this takes some chutzpah even for the BBC bearing in mind that videos at the time showed a howling mob defacing the statue and dragging it along the ground before rolling it over the edge,

      2. Lynn Atkinson
        September 17, 2020

        Andy is really peeved because the Greencrap lobby can’t castigate this effect of Brexit! 😂😂
        Your digging Andy! Keep it up, we all need a laugh now an then.

      3. Caterpillar
        September 17, 2020


        Are you saying the BBC was also Marxist and snowflake 40-50 years ago? An interesting hypothesis.

        Back then, I think, Jimmy Hill was payed less than a tenth of Lineker (in real terms) and typically attracted 3 or 4 times the audience. It is hard to know how much of this difference is due to efficient/inefficient markets due to the BBC’s funding regime.

      4. Edward2
        September 17, 2020

        The Good Life was made in 1975.
        Just before the BBC went woke.

      5. IanT
        September 17, 2020

        The Good Life was made by the BBC Andy and well before it started to pay a very wealthy retired professional footballer obscene amounts of money to chat to his mates.

        I might also mention that the Good Life was also both funny and entertaining – not something you can often say about much of their output these days.

    2. Everhopeful
      September 17, 2020

      Grow your own?
      How would you like to be a tomato, plucked from your stem and transported to foreign climes? Crammed into boxes. Not nice.
      A few pots of compost..a handful of seeds.
      And voilà!

    3. Lifelogic
      September 17, 2020

      Some truth in this but much of our food comes from fairly cold places like Holland.

      What is needed to make the UK more competitive is lots cheap reliable energy non green crap energy, far less red tape, easy hire and fire, simple employment laws and more mechanisation, robot picking/packing & the likes.

      Excellent piece by Allister Heath today. “Boris has six months to save his premiership.”

      I think Boris is capable of this but he has not made the best of starts. He has not even cancelled HS2 yet, nor culled the green crap grants and he even lets the treasury talk of tax increases from the current hugely over taxed position. Nor has he done much about the appalling BBC lefty/green crap/anit Trump propaganda outfit.

      Though I see they have spent money on an absurd advert to lie to us that they are independent!

    4. agricola
      September 17, 2020

      First sentence, we are, outside the conservatory door and delightful they are. All the herbs we need too. A large pot has been prepared for next years rhubarb. The only thing missing are the large ugly in shape tomatoes, so good for cooking. Quite content to leave the animal food to the professionals.

    5. graham1946
      September 17, 2020

      What a prize pair of downers you two are. Being so cheerful keeps you going. Gives the rest of us a laugh anyway.

      We are doing it now and it is set to expand with another big one in Kent to come. We always used to grow lots of our own stuff and had very large glass houses in Hertfordshire before we went into the EU, where they subsidise cheap labour use shanty town plastic sheet greenhouses and put our people out of work, but of course, like fish it doesn’t matter as long as the French are OK. People grow lots of their own stuff and it is fresher and tastier than anything in the shops who grow mainly for bulk. You’ll be complaining about global warming again next, whilst supporting carrying food and animals long distances in diesel lorries.

    6. Lynn Atkinson
      September 17, 2020

      The ‘tasty’ EU food is produced complying with EU standards, which includes spraying all tomatoes with Organophosphate, a nerve agent.
      Let’s get back to controlling our own food production. We may ‘eradicate’ some real health problems, like ME!

    7. Fred H
      September 17, 2020

      It is easy to grow tomatoes in a garden or courtyard – you don’t need to have an allotment! We are finally running out and will have to see what the supermarket has.
      If none, so what!

    8. IanT
      September 17, 2020

      Well we haven’t purchased any Tomatoes for several months now. Just three plants in growbags have yielded all we can eat and we are having a last burst of produce as we go through September. No green house, just a sheltering fence. They just need to be watered once a day.

      So I can see no reason why Tomatoes could not be grown here commercially and perhaps they still are. Its a simple thing to do, reduces road mils and is one small step towards self sufficiency. I’m sure this applies to a lot of what we eat.

    9. dixie
      September 17, 2020

      Most of the imported tomatoes in the local supermarket come from Morocco as well as the Nederlands so given the choice EU produce can be avoided, but the import tariffs can’t be until 2021.

      As it is growing your own toms is easy you don’t need a lot of space or time. just a bit of discipline.

    10. steve
      September 17, 2020


      “If it was cost effective to grow tomatoes here we would be doing it now .”

      I grow my own toms, and it doesn’t cost me a penny, which shoots your theory down in flames.

      “Do it for ourselves sounds nice….”

      Worked during WWII, and still works. All that is needed is a bit of graft, something remainiacs are terrified of.

      “Personally I like the wide variety of cheap food we import from Europe”

      Well they say you are what you eat.

  5. Andy
    September 17, 2020

    12% of UK demand. Wonderful.

    The other 88% can starve as their food will rot in lorries.

    Of course, even after growing this fruit we still need people to pick it.

    I notice attempts to use Brexiteers have not been too successful.

    1. Sea Warrior
      September 17, 2020

      Regarding your last point, it was apparent that some farmers wanted to bring in foreign workers so they would then be able to sell their caravan accommodation to them.

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      September 17, 2020

      On Universal Credit I could take home £35K picking fruit Andy.

      Unfortunately there are plentiful foreign workers who will do the job for accommodation included in the minimum wage so I have been undercut and am not an attractive employee.

      1. Fred H
        September 17, 2020

        only because the £ they earn here might be worth multiples when sent /taken home. Also various benefits can be claimed while here. The wages are nothing like as low as is seemed – and in contrast to zero income where they come from.

    3. agricola
      September 17, 2020

      I detect that something has upset him.

    4. Mike Wilson
      September 17, 2020

      Whereas Remainers love picking fruit and will save us from our moronic selves.

    5. Richard1
      September 17, 2020

      Yes the threat of mass starvation once we leave the EU is very real it’s a wonder more people other than you don’t sound the alarm. After all look around the world. The US, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Norway etc etc. None of them in the EU and all of them struggling with abject poverty and mass starvation. If only you’d pointed this out in the referendum or at the last election and we could have been spared.

    6. Edward2
      September 17, 2020

      Thousands of new cheap labour arriving every month.
      Over 300,000 last year.

    7. beresford
      September 17, 2020

      Worry not, the Government has the problem in hand. Farmers will be able to access an army of illegal boat migrants controlled by shadowy gangmasters in order to do menial tasks.

    8. graham1946
      September 17, 2020

      Modern high rise greenhouses do not rely on cheap foreign labour to pick tomatoes and peppers. You are woefully out of touch as usual.

    9. bigneil(newercomp)
      September 17, 2020

      “I notice attempts to use Brexiteers have not been too successful.”

      We could ask ( very politely of course) all those replacements currently sat in hotels at our expense – or should we round up all those homeless ex-Forces people who are sleeping rough and force them to do it?

    10. a-tracy
      September 17, 2020

      In Japan, there is a high demand to automate agricultural work due to the falling birth rate and ageing population. They are ahead of us in robot technologies for agricultural grind work, leaving the humans for the less laborious tasks.

  6. Martin in Cardiff
    September 17, 2020

    I personally like the sun-ripened tasty varieties of tomatoes suited to outdoor cultivation in warm countries.

    I’ve had enough of the pale orange, tasteless, watery stuff grown under glass, thanks.

    There’s also the small point of farmers not being able to sell their better stuff in the European Union thanks to regulatory non-alignment – never mind tariffs – and also their competing against cheap US food dumped here for the other end of the market.

    As even your pet economist Minford said, farming, like manufacturing in the UK, is on its way out thanks to your brexit.

    1. Everhopeful
      September 17, 2020

      Another one who doesn’t know how to grow a tomato!!

    2. Mike Wilson
      September 17, 2020

      Economists are never wrong.

    3. Edward2
      September 17, 2020

      Professor Minford didn’t say that.

    4. Robert McDonald
      September 17, 2020

      Not sure how you can seriously correlate the decline of farming and manufacturing with brexit, the very opposite is clearly the case. The Eu has gloatingly assisted in decimating our farming, our manufacturing ( Ford Transit moved from Southampton toe TURKEY using EU, our, money), and of course our fishing.

    5. Lynn Atkinson
      September 17, 2020

      Tomatoes in Spain are grown in greenhouses Martin. It’s because of the pests.
      The ‘better stuff’ will be sold in the U.K. dear, we deserve it.
      So just to confirm – you greencrap people want quotas to stop local production of food all over the EU so that millions of lorries traverse it daily at great cost to the ‘planet’?

    6. Fred H
      September 17, 2020

      I didn’t realise you never get any sunshine in Cardiff. Short of vitamin D are you?
      Try planting them in a pot. Flat dweller are you?
      We’ve had a wonderful year for salad stuff – all on a patio.
      You probably spent too much time reading about China – in the Grauniad was it?
      Get outside and plant stuff.

    7. Gramp
      September 17, 2020

      Your knowledge of tomatoes is obviously limited. I have a large tunnel greenhouse where, amongst other things I grow lots of different varieties chosen for their outstanding flavour. It is all about the varieties chosen to grow. Granted they do better with some extra warmth. This, as John says is going to be provided in Ingham, in Suffolk by waste heat from water treatment. The site is vast covering twelve hectares. How very clever and green.
      I am trying to buy British as much as I can.

    8. dixie
      September 17, 2020

      There was an article several years ago, “The Greenhouses of Almeria”, which carried a photo of a sea of poly greenhouses in Spain producing more than 50% of EU fruit and veg.

      Seems no different from the UK and Nederlands really, the issue is availability of energy.

    9. a-tracy
      September 17, 2020

      Martin, why wouldn’t we want to buy from Spain?

    10. steve
      September 17, 2020


      “…farming, like manufacturing in the UK, is on its way out thanks to your brexit.”

      Total rubbish.

  7. Bob Dixon
    September 17, 2020

    We will be able to import European foodstuffs if the U.K. glasshouse veg is too expensive.I buy my bananas from my weekly market. They come from Honduras and Costa Rica.The quality is far superior than supermarket bananas.

    1. acorn
      September 17, 2020

      Your bananas come to your weekly market courtesy of the “European Union – Central American Association Agreement”.

      That agreement includes advising the six Central American countries on forming their own Customs Union and consequently upgrading its relationship with the EU.

      1. Edward2
        September 17, 2020

        Plus tariffs.

        1. acorn
          September 18, 2020

          The tariff of €75 per tonne on bananas, the UK intends to retain post a no-deal Brexit. Non-rollover deals with new third countries will be €114 per tonne MFN. UK intends to retain €0 for current LDC suppliers.

    2. steve
      September 17, 2020

      Bob Dixon

      “We will be able to import European foodstuff”

      Why? the aim is to get away from the ungrateful EU and not be dependent on it in any way.

  8. agricola
    September 17, 2020

    Absolutely agree with your last sentence, the South West would be an ideal place for such expansion. Thanks to climate change there is much that can be produced in the back garden or window box for those with the inclination. Not to overlook the potential for wine production thanks to our changig climate, long may it last.

    1. Fred H
      September 17, 2020

      English wine is superb. Vineyards spring up all over – more than 500 now.
      Try some -you might ignore French – we did years ago.

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        September 17, 2020

        Fred H I agree. English wine is amazing. I just wish it was easier to find in local supermarkets.

        1. Fred H
          September 18, 2020

          agreed- almost certainly due to them trying to force uneconomic price deals on the owners.

    2. Lynn Atkinson
      September 17, 2020

      In Northumberland I have 12 200 year old espaliered Apple trees, ancient varieties, the pears, figs and peaches are ripening on the trees, we are picking warm ripe fruit and just eating it. Our soft fruit is being picked by the dogs to as high as they can go! 😂 A 400 year old vineyard in Monmouthshire is being sold – Champagne anyone?
      The Land of Milk and Honey is on the way back, thanks to Brexit!
      MiC and Andy can’t partake because they are full already, of bile.

      1. agricola
        September 17, 2020

        It must be hard for the climate change warriors to swallow. They have just noticed in the last ten years something that has been happening for billions of years and have decided to deify it, at a price to everyone else of course.

  9. Everhopeful
    September 17, 2020

    Never mind “Great Reset”.
    Without Chinese cheap goods and the EU takeover of our farming we need the “Great Relearning“.
    We need to learn how to grow veg again. Horticulture as a subject in secondary schools again. Flowers too…stop importing them.
    Everything used to be possible in greenhouses heated with solid fuel. Pineapples, grapes etc etc.
    It took manpower but there will be plenty of that I imagine. Not us on the dole and immigrants manning the glasshouses I hope.
    Such a shortsighted shame about all the acres of glasshouses that have been demolished at great expense.
    Much like the railways really.
    We have always had greedy, small minded governments though.
    Quick buck and never mind the future.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      September 17, 2020

      Everhopeful agree. It’s a tragedy that we lost so many greenhouses and orchards when we joined the EU. It makes sense to have as much home grown produce as possible. Our strawberries are definitely superior to those from Spain. All our demands for different produce all year ftom around the globe is very damaging to the environment so I welcome this news John and ignore the usual depressing negative dross from Andy and Co.

    2. a-tracy
      September 17, 2020

      I read that “future agriculture will use sophisticated technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial images, and GPS technology. These advanced devices and precision agriculture and robotic systems will allow farms to be more profitable, efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly.” O Wyman No point looking backwards time to look into the future.

      Homegrown produce should be lower cost with reduced transportation and storage, however, if people want to pay for more exotic core ingredients from the world producers then if they meet British and World Standards why not?

  10. Sea Warrior
    September 17, 2020

    Good – but let’s aim to become the world leader in agricultural robotics too.

  11. Everhopeful
    September 17, 2020

    Not sure why everyone talks as if pre EU we didn’t grow most of our own food?
    We did!
    And if you all believe in the summers getting hotter..then where is the problem?

  12. Dave Andrews
    September 17, 2020

    I believe a country should have no more people than its agriculture can support. I did a calculation that the agricultural land in the UK is sufficient to support 16m people, so we should be looking for a population reduction.

    If we are going to develop UK agriculture, then there will need to be houses for the workers, so they need priority over those who want country cottages for second homes and holiday lets.

  13. Narrow Shoulders
    September 17, 2020

    Good that we are increasing domestic capacity, now for technology and manufacturing.

  14. Billy Elliot
    September 17, 2020

    Great idea. I hope it flies.
    USSR tried to produce everything by them selves. Didn’t work. Won’t work. But hopefully we can increase our domestic production.

    1. Ian Turner
      September 18, 2020

      I think there may have been one or two flaws in the methods used by the Soviet Union to achieve self sufficiency. The Left prefer not to remember the millions who starved to death under Stalin in pursuit of ‘collectivization’ for instance.

  15. Ken
    September 17, 2020

    So “Global Britain” turns out to mean turning East Anglia into a giant greenhouse. You hate international trade, it seems. Too open-minded and co-operative for Luttle Englanders, I suppose

    1. graham1946
      September 17, 2020

      East Anglia is mostly prairie fields, producing millions of tons of spuds, peas and grains. The Suffolk glasshouses are not there, but around Ipswich. As far as international trade is concerned that is happening and will grow even more once out of the clutches of the EU forcing up our costs. You just cannot abide the thought that the UK may be successful can you? Pathetic.

  16. M Brandreth- Jones
    September 17, 2020

    As more and more people dislike killing animals for food the UK is responding by becoming more allotment friendly , more green house friendly and generally relying on a more vegetable based diet. I applaud the use of polytunnels and other ways of veg growing to give more home grown produce.
    Small home gardeners can also make a difference. I experimented with growing veg at home this year and was amazed at some of my successes and learned from failures. I said that carrots were too cheap to grow when they can be bought from the supermarket for 30p , however I tipped a packet of seed into a large container , forgot I had done so and a couple of months later planted a trachycarpus in the same pot. The best crop of the year has been my carrots which I pull up from around the palm tree one by one as I need ; fab and fresh and straight into the pot. If anyone knows what has eaten my cauliflower leaves to annihilation point please tell me.

    1. M Brandreth- Jones
      September 17, 2020

      The use of peas to make a plastic like biodegradable like product could take off significantly and be a world winner if the UK got their act together. We can grow peas easily .. I know mine were delicious .

  17. BeebTax
    September 17, 2020

    I think food security is an important issue, but glasshouse production is only a minor element in bolstering it.

    More important are the huge acreages of arable and lowland pastureland, where the main threats are the call for forestation & “rewilding”, along with the measures we put in place to ensure we have the capacity to rapidly increase supplies of basic foodstuffs that can be grown here (should imports be cut off or reduced due to an external shock).

  18. Nigl
    September 17, 2020

    Excellent news. Heating a major cost so ‘free’ plus reduced transport and no currency risk
    should enable it to be very competitive . I guess the Dutch have a similar climate to us, how do they manage?

    If it isn’t already the Government should be working with and looking to provide free land, interest free loans for the Capex and through the use of solar arrays providing the heat and artificial sunlight plus fast track planning, seek to place them further north as part of regeneration projects.

    We have 12% provided for let’s go for the rest. Then what other manufacturing competitive on the continent even with high labour costs.

    The government is faffing about looking to throw money at what looks to be a lost cause, Tata Steel, why not invest/seed fund using the money to take on French glass or Belgium carpets etc?

    State subsidy back in our hands is a powerful tool but should not be for bailing out failed no future businesses but those with a genuine chance if success.

  19. Ian @Barkham
    September 17, 2020

    Surely the level playing field that ‘isn’t’ is the problem. The CAP was weaponized years ago to undermine the worlds agriculture.

    While I can understand the remit of food security at home bit. But, as soon as that type of State Funding gets used to subsidise exports, that is deliberate, aggressive undermining of the ability of other Countries to feed and fend for themselves. If you like you could even consider it a war of attrition to undermined the World so as to make them beholden to your rule. Oh so very EU, seek to isolate from the World community from your own market, then attack other markets with support of taxpayer State funding.

    These are the same people that talk level playing field – but only if it doesn’t include them

  20. Ian @Barkham
    September 17, 2020

    At the outset of the Brexit campaign when the remoaners started complaining about food supplies. Someone went to their local supermarket and photographed the source of seasonal food stuffs that weren’t UK. The majority came from outside the EU.

    Sir John, the CAP was at the route of destroying the UK’s efficient, effective food producers. It set out to handicap the large commercial concerns in favour of the small French part time farmer.

  21. Lifelogic
    September 17, 2020

    Just heard Baron O’Neill of Gatley on radio 4 wittering on about the green recovery and renewables.

    Surely all sensible economists know that every green/renewable (tax payer subsidised) job destroys many more real unsubsidised jobs (this due to it forcing expensive not on demand energy and the vast extra taxation needed to fund the subsidies giving business less to invest in real jobs). Perhaps not the economist who graduate at Sheffield and Surrey and get into the Lords it seems.

    1. Lifelogic
      September 17, 2020

      Whole energy intensive industries are exported with thousands of jobs and not even any net world CO2 saving (not that that really matters anyway).

  22. Sakara Gold
    September 17, 2020

    Britain has rarely been totally self-sufficient in food, as it has long imported vegetable oils (eg olive oil), wines, fruits and spices from around the world; it has also exported some foodstuffs, most notably malting barley, to offset these imports.

    The last time the British diet was confined to what could only be grown locally was probably in the late Bronze Age (about 750 BCE).

    However a high degree of self-sufficiency was last achieved between about 1805 and 1815 during the Napoleonic Wars when importing food from continental Europe to the British Isles became very difficult. This self-sufficiency was achieved by a marked increase in agricultural productivity through the innovations of the Agricultural Revolution, strong protectionist policies discouraging food imports and population growth that was lower than might have been expected due to emigration to North America.

    Nevertheless, all areas of Britain experienced regular (often localised) periods of famine (notably Ireland) and food shortages well into the the nineteenth century. Authors such as Thomas Hardy made reference to this in their books.

    During both world wars German U boats very nearly starved us into submission. Loosing the Battle of the Atlantic was what kept Churchill up at night

    As the world economy moves into what is looking like a nasty depression, the government should consider stockpiling food. The nation filled their freezers just before the last lockdown but I doubt if we have three months food now.

  23. turboterrier
    September 17, 2020

    All fine Sir John , as long as you stop the land owners and farmers using their fields for, wind turbines, solar panels, bio digesters, bjo mass boilers fuel and any other project that pays better subsidies than growing and selling food

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      September 17, 2020


  24. Wil Pretty
    September 17, 2020

    Heated by waste heat from a Water Plant?
    Can’t imagine what that could be.
    Most low level heating works where the use is adjacent to the source.
    Is this Virtue Signalling PR.
    Climate change to the rescue! Sounds like betting on futures derivatives.

  25. Everhopeful
    September 17, 2020

    Apparently orders have reached the govt. from on high.
    A two week imprisonment.
    Well…there’s a thing.
    And not even enough tests to go round!
    Why not use all the companies online that sell them?
    Not that testing is the answer to anything!
    Except for those who WANT to find a virus.

  26. Chris Dark
    September 17, 2020

    We’ve grown much of our own veg for nearly forty years. We only purchase from shops when our home supplies have run out. Not everyone can do this, of course because we have built , and plan to continue building, millions of rabbit hutches with postage-stamp gardens (if any) so that more immigrants can be squeezed in to start their “new lives”. This of course means an ever-increasing demand for food. I grew up in a market gardening environment in the south-west so have been used to the processes, but people have lost all contact with nature these days and can’t even cope with a packet of seeds.

  27. Bryan Harris
    September 17, 2020

    That philosophy should also apply to doctors and nurses, scientists and fruit pickers.

    The NHS is still mostly asleep, avoiding its normal duties to be ready for the second wave.
    Contact with GP’s returns a lackadaisical responce – Their energy has been drained away and they seem unable to focus on ordinary physical problems that bother us due to lack of real care.

    It is good that growers are waking up to opportunities – We need that feeling to percolate through to the rest of those who should be working for the benefit of the public.

    1. graham1946
      September 17, 2020

      Not my experience of the NHS hospitals at the moment. Yesterday my wife was taken very ill with suspected peritonitis, the ambulance came within 20 minutes, she was treated by paramedics for almost an hour then taken under blue light to hospital. They scanned her and stabilised her and intended to operate early today but two emergencies came in and due to the great care she received was able to wait. They are operating now as I type at 10.50pm. GP’s are another matter entirely and were spoiled by the Labour Part and their duff contract.

      1. Bryan Harris
        September 18, 2020

        @Graham – Hope your wife recovers fully – and well done to the NHS in doing everything right for her.

        I was at the hospital yesterday, to take my wife for an appointment – but for these regular type of things the NHS is certainly not firing on all cylinders. and I’m still waiting for an appointment that was cancelled when CV first hit – no sign they are still functioning, no communication — despite a reminder.

        1. graham1946
          September 18, 2020

          Thanks for the good wishes, Bryan. She has had her op and is now set for recovery. Yes, they are down on normal and electives, but that is what the government wanted. Until they change their mind this will be the case. I too am waiting – I was in the middle of Prostate cancer tests when covid struck and my next appointment has been pencilled in for January, but only a telephone one, so I guess you will have a long wait yet.

  28. glen cullen
    September 17, 2020

    I agree grow move in the UK

    However you need more investment and this government stopped banks paying out a dividend – result lack of continued growth and investment

  29. Jeff12
    September 17, 2020

    Increased home food production is essential because of the increasingly cold winters around the world reducing harvests and the ongoing war on food production by numerous governments who seem to feel that a few positive tests amongst farm workers is reason enough to cease producing food. A lunatic theory as a disease (if it exists) might kill you, whereas stavation certainly will.

  30. BW
    September 17, 2020

    It is a good idea. However like everything in the UK we priced ourselves out of the market. It wasn’t the CAP. It was every industry. Ridiculous demands from the Unions for ever higher wages made everything Cheaper to import. I remember when it was cheaper to import coal from Russia and ship it in than it was to pay our own miners to dig it out of our own mines. They were the first to get £100 a week. A staggering amount at the time. Contrary to the popular belief it wasn’t Maggie who destroyed that industry it was Scargill. No point growing our own when they end up more expensive. Unless of course we pay foreign workers to pick them. Our British workforce is to expensive and expect managerial wages from the off having gained their entitled degrees in Wallace and Gromit, and Mickey Mouse.

  31. beresford
    September 17, 2020

    Good idea, let’s become self-sufficient in food production. We could also plant more forests instead of lecturing Brazil and Indonesia that they should remain undeveloped in order to provide oxygen for us. Oh wait a minute, the Government policy is to create a ballooning population via mass immigration instead, concreting over swathes of farmland in order to build houses for them.

  32. hefner
    September 17, 2020

    Very sensible indeed, but what exactly prevented the UK from taking the NL route some years ago and developing its own fruit & vegetable greenhouses? The Dutch did it, why did the British not do it in a similar fashion? Anything to do with the British supermarket sector?

    1. Edward2
      September 17, 2020

      They look towards the cheapest price.
      EU CAP interventions have an affect on the market.

      1. hefner
        September 17, 2020

        Indeed, but those EU CAP interventions would likely have had a similar effect on the Dutch and the British markets.
        The point is still (and your comment does not answer it): why did the British not grow fruit and vegetable in greenhouses? Are you going to tell me that the Netherlands had the Groningen gas to heat their greenhouses? In this case, the UK also had its own North Sea gas.

        1. Edward2
          September 18, 2020

          Imports into the UK are often cheaper.
          There are reasons
          Relative tax rates. labour costs, costs of land, costs of energy, economies of scale and the negative effect of the Common Agricultural Policy.

          1. hefner
            September 19, 2020

            I can only agree with most of that, at least in terms of what the constraints are (or might be/have been).
            Yet apart from the CAP, clearly a European-wide policy, all the other things you point out are clearly the UK responsibility. Then (again) given that the CAP has likely applied similarly to the Netherlands and the UK, how comes that there has not been a development of greenhouse-farming in the UK? What has the UK NOT done that might have slowed down or prevented similar developments in this country?
            That was and still is my original point. And your hand-waving typical of a number of people on this blog (they might recognize themselves) does not move the argument any further step forward.

  33. bigneil(newercomp)
    September 17, 2020

    Off topic

    I notice Help for Heroes is losing staff due to lack of donations. Pity the govt can’t look after those who served – – but can fund a non-stop flood of freeloaders wanting a non-contributing life here on our taxes – -while they are pushing to destroy the very culture that they come here to live on.

    And our govt do nothing to stop them !!!

    1. graham1946
      September 17, 2020

      Yes, I heard today they are short of 10 million – petty cash to the government who have always treated our vets poorly whilst basking in their reflected glory at the Cenotaph etc.

  34. A.Sedgwick
    September 17, 2020

    Blindingly obvious for decades but our Governments could not see the dangerous strategy of ignoring self sufficiency. Our economy has become ridiculously reliant on pretty meaningless service jobs. Many of these will hopefully go and be replaced with real jobs that replace imports. This Government should be supporting such changes and emphasizing the environmental benefits to counter phoney Green propaganda.

  35. Peter
    September 17, 2020

    One issue is the increasing taste for exotic vegetables and fruits and the produce that is out of season.

    A diet based on the produce that can be cheaply grown on these islands would be more sensible. But novelty drives the food market these days.

    Yes, we have no bananas.

  36. Stred
    September 17, 2020

    My own glasshouse capacity had just increased by 100%. It’s on the way and will be growing very tasty wrinkly tomatoes and peppers next spring, planted in proper compost and not cellulose paste with chemicals that taste-free Dutch and some British ‘tomatoes’ are fed.

    My friend grew these superior variety in his greenhouse and fed the family and neighbours. The seeds from one have produced seedlings already and some have been dried for next year.

  37. clive lester
    September 17, 2020

    Good morning Sir John and all .
    As someone who was connected to the the agricultural industry for many years it gladdens the soul to think we should produce more fruit veg and meat in the UK .
    It may even make the Government look closely at the house building program that has taken thousands and thousands of productive acres out of food production , which can never be reversed .
    As we now have more and more mouths to feed due to a defunct immigration system , its once again stable door wide open and no sign of Neddy . A little late on this one by fifty plus years!
    But alas I feel there are bigger to fish to fry at this moment in time Sir John , but hey nice distraction .

  38. Cheshire Girl
    September 17, 2020

    You cant beat Norfolk fruit and vegetables. I grew up there, and the produce was always fresh and tasty. I always pleased to see ‘grown in Norfolk’ on any produce I get from the Supermarkets.

    1. Fedupsoutherner
      September 17, 2020

      Cheshire girl. Agree but I’m always disappointed not to see the English flag on English produce. Scotland have their flag on everything. We have the Union flag. Not the same.

  39. Edwardm
    September 17, 2020

    Encouraging news.
    Hope the news media cover these positive developments.

  40. M H
    September 17, 2020

    We should absolutely grow our own food. We foolishly built houses on our farms in Wokingham. When I questioned food security I was met with blank stares. No one seems to understand what it means.

    1. Fred H
      September 17, 2020

      We didn’t agree to homes being built at all. It has been forced on us!

  41. Know-Dice
    September 17, 2020

    Should CAP really be considered as “State Aid”?

  42. dixie
    September 17, 2020

    Perhaps you could convince WBC to include areas for food and for local light industry/startups in the outlying settlements at equal priority to housing in the new local plan.

  43. Al
    September 17, 2020

    And the new proposals tabled for smart meters by Scottish and Southern Electricity will allow the power companies to turn off the heating and support for such glasshouses, at the power company’s discretion, without recompense. This would not be good for the crops.

    In such a situation, those with electric cars would be unable to drive to work orwork from home as there would be no power for either. Those on life support or other medical equipment must dread such an option (and informing the power company of such conditions is a major privacy breach). Giving any company that much power without civil and criminal liability will only encourage its misuse.

    These changes have been tabled due to the switch to green energy – an admission that the government’s plans will not produce sufficient.

  44. Original Richard
    September 17, 2020

    As a member of the EU not only was the UK tax-payer subsidising EU farmers but was at the same time paying higher prices for some foods because of high EU import tariffs to protect these farmers from World competition.

    A double whammy on the UK tax-payers.

  45. steve
    September 17, 2020

    Agree with your thoughts on this JR.

    I would expand that their should be a national emphasis for everyone to grow their own at home and in allotments.

    I think it would be a damn fine idea if as a nation the more self sufficient we are the better. In fact, I’d say it’s crucial now that we know what the EU has been plotting.

  46. steve
    September 17, 2020


    “Without Chinese cheap goods….”

    Which don’t work or fail very quickly. I’d rather pay more for something made in England which has a decent lifespan and can be repaired.

    I stopped buying Chinese and EU goods ages ago. Now I only buy British or American stuff. Though if the US left wing get in power I shall boycott American products too.

    “Everything used to be possible in greenhouses heated with solid fuel. Pineapples, grapes etc etc.”

    Go to Iceland (The country) and see what they do. They grow all sorts in greenhouses, using geothermal heat.

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