How is growing your own vegetables sustainable?

Growing your own food is not only fulfilling and cost-efficient, but it also helps to alleviate pressures on industrial food production. Global food suppliers directly contribute to a steady increase in carbon emissions through their methods of growing and distributing food. Research indicates that approximately 25% of global carbon emissions are caused by the worldwide industrial production of food, which is resource intensive at every stage.

Therefore, growing your own food in your Haygrove Garden Tunnel is great for the environment and is a sustainable method of sustenance. Here are three key reasons why:

Mizuna lettuce growing under a Haygrove polytunnel.

1) Growing your own Reduces synthetic pesticides

Bad soil quality is becoming a big problem. Intensive use of chemical treatments like synthetic pesticides in food production leads to the depletion of soil. These treatments harm helpful bacteria and fungal networks responsible for natural nutrient distribution to plant roots. Researchers have also discovered that pesticides negatively impact critical organisms for maintaining healthy soils, including worms, beetles, and thousands of other subterranean species.

By organically growing your own produce in your tunnel, you can skip out on using pesticides, or ensure that any used are organic, helping to reduce air and water pollution.

2) Growing your own Reduces food miles (carbon emissions)

Long distance transportation uses energy from burning fossil fuels, releasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. According to, food items travel an average of 1,837 miles before they are consumed in the UK. As a result, DEFRA estimates that transporting food within, to and around the UK produces 19 million tonnes of CO2 annually – equivalent to around 5.5 million typical cars.

By growing your own fruit and vegetables inside your garden tunnel, you will greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Your food will only have to travel from your back garden to your kitchen! The plants in your garden also actually absorb carbon, reducing the amount going into the atmosphere.

Image by RitaE on Pixabay.

3) No plastic required

Although many supermarkets in the UK are now making an effort to reduce their use of plastic, there is no easy alternative to keeping fruit and veg fresh. These perishable goods are normally transported from abroad. You will notice that manufacturers often package fruits and vegetables in plastic, with a significant portion of this plastic being non-recyclable. These plastic bags are non-biodegradable meaning they will pollute our land and seas forever.

At home, you don’t need to tightly pack your fruits or vegetables together or make them travel for miles, eliminating the need for plastic.

4) Option to grow your own using rainwater

People don’t often think about the sustainability of our water supply, but the over-abstraction of water from rivers, lakes and canals affects fish and other wildlife. Collecting and using rainwater in your Garden Tunnel is far more sustainable, as rainwater harvesting can play a vital role in reducing pressure on public water utilities. For example, in the UK, experts estimate that reusing rainwater can reduce mains water usage in domestic homes by approximately 55 percent.

By fitting gutters to your Garden Tunnel, you can harvest the rainwater from your polytunnel into a water butt and use it to irrigate the plants inside your tunnel. Haygrove Garden Tunnels offer a distinctive feature where you can attach gutters to a galvanized steel bar inside the polytunnel. This steel bar makes the gutter completely stable and also adds additional strength to your tunnel.

Read more about the benefits of harvesting rainwater here.