Those of us who turn to polytunnel gardening often do so because we are trying to move towards a more sustainable and ethical way of life. Growing at least some of our own food is one of the best things we can do to begin the journey to a better way of life. Let's take a look at some of the reasons why polytunnel gardeners should consider a vegetarian diet, over and above the animal welfare concerns:
The modern day meat industry, with factory farming and large-scale livestock concerns, not only allows a wide range of cruel practices and issues of animal welfare, it is poses huge problems from an environmental point of view. By eating most meat available from the shops, you are supporting and implicitly condoning the meat industry, with all its many faults.
Did you know, you can reduce your carbon footprint more by giving up beef for the year than you could by giving up a gas-guzzling 4x4?! The huge energy requirements of rearing and transporting meat, along with the methane released, means that the meat industry greatly adds to our collective carbon footprint and contributes a great deal to the problems which cause global warming.
What is more, the meat industry is also responsible for a great deal of other forms of environmental pollution. Rearing livestock for meat, and the processes to bring that meat to our plates, can pollute soils and water courses and disrupt the natural cycles that we rely on for life on this planet. Most large-scale modern day agriculture, including arable, comes with its problems – but the meat industry is responsible for more than its fair share of the issues.
Growing your own food at home can help you to reduce your reliance on damaging agricultural systems. Having a vegetarian diet will make it easier to produce a higher proportion of your own food at home in your polytunnel and elsewhere around your property. Most of us have space to grow some fruits and vegetables, which can form the bulk of a vegetarian diet. Most of us, however, will not have the space to rear livestock where we live. By focussing on healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables, and enjoying a predominantly vegetarian diet, we can maximise the amount of food it is possible for us to grow at home, save money and stay healthy.