It was my first time at the Edible Garden Show this weekend gone (15th-17th March) and I was along there with NFU Countryside Magazine offering Chicken Surgeries, in the ‘Potting Shed’ interviewing Genevieve Taylor about her excellent new book “A Good Egg”, hanging out with Victoria Roberts in the Smallholder marquee and sitting on the “Ask the Expert” desk answering questions on chickens and gardening (although I was probably asked if I knew where the toilets were more often than any other question)
It’s the third year the show has run and the size of the crowds on all three days (despite Friday being Red Nose Day and Saturday being the crunch match in this years Six Nations Rugby) were testament to the huge numbers of people who are electing to grow more of their own food.
For many years I’ve understood and appreciated the value of poultry as part of a productive garden and a self supporting lifestyle, and I’ve long being saying that the large increase in backyard keepers is not some fad but simply the fact it’s a natural step to take when you are a grow your veg sort of person. The amount of floor space & talk time at the show dedicated to poultry was a reflection of that, and the fact the planned surgeries dissolved into a full on, flat out Q&A session seemed to prove the point too. People are hungry for knowledge and are keen to get the best out of their birds and ensure the birds get the best out of their land.
Some of us are even dreaming of more land and more chickens (my apologies to Alys Fowler, it was a momentary lapse in concentration)