A Steyning man with a passion for gardening wants to help people learn how to grow their own vegetables in a bid to cut down on plastic waste and improve their health.
Stephen Nightingale, of Charlton Street, has been growing vegetables ever since he began helping his father out at his allotment, aged three.
For the past 50 years, the green-fingered resident has tended his own plot, which was recently voted best allotment by the Steyning Food and Drink Association.
The 67-year-old said there was a real pleasure to digging your first potatoes or picking your first crop of peas for the season and bringing them home to cook and eat – all within a few hours.
“The smell of the freshly picked tomatoes and popping them straight in your mouth – it is a completely different taste to the ones sold in plastic from your local supermarket,” he said.
Mr Nightingale, who formerly owned a building company and also worked as a professional gardener, said growing your own food was better for both your health and the environment.
He said: “I find it incomprehensible in this day and age, when we are so aware of the benefits of keeping fit and healthy, that we still insist on eating vegetables which have been sprayed goodness knows how many times before we put them in our own mouth.
“And, to make matters worse, we buy them in plastic containers which are then thrown away to pollute our oceans and kill off our marine life.”
He said he had come to the conclusion that most people were put off by a lack of knowledge.
But he added: “I can assure you it is not too difficult to grow your own produce, it just takes a little tuition to learn how to get the right tools and then to learn what are the right seeds and plants to grow.”
Mr Nightingale is offering to teach people the basics of growing their own food from his Steyning allotment through half-day or full-day workshops, which include lunch.
He said: “You will be able to go home and start enjoying the benefits of growing and eating your fresh, chemical free vegetables.”
To find out more, get in touch with by visiting his website at www.the-vegetable-gardener.com