Alan Titchmarsh

British fruit, veg, plants and flowers have been celebrated by parliamentarians and TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh at the first meeting of the relaunched All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fruit, Vegetables and Horticulture.

The group, reformed by co-chairs Theo Clarke and Rosie Duffield, heard from Titchmarsh about the benefits of buying seasonal fruit and veg, using British plants and flowers in his gardening, and the mental health benefits of enjoying the countryside.

With the peak harvest season for many growers underway, the group discussed why it is so important to showcase British horticulture, buy British-grown plants and flowers and promote eating the healthy produce British growers provide for the nation.

Clarke said: “I am delighted to have launched this APPG with Alan Titchmarsh. The past few months have shown us the importance of food security and the benefits to our mental health of getting outside and gardening. This APPG will enable MPs and peers to demonstrate in Parliament that they back British farming.”

Titchmarsh added: “It was brilliant to speak to so many MPs and peers about why we need to showcase British horticulture and show why it is so important. As a nation, we should be eating much more seasonally and locally, supporting our farmers and growers. It is such an easy step to reduce your food miles and make a difference.

“We’ve seen this year how beneficial it is for your mental health to connect with the countryside and where your food comes from. We cannot undervalue those open spaces and I hope the great appreciation of the outdoors we’ve seen this year continues into the future.”

NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair Ali Capper said: “It’s fantastic to see so many MPs and peers join the event and it just shows the importance of the British horticulture sector. I’m really pleased that Theo and Rosie have relaunched this APPG and that so many parliamentarians joined the meeting to celebrate British fruit, veg, plants and flowers.

“At a time when we should all be eating more fresh fruit and veg, it’s incredibly important we raise the profile of buying seasonally and locally. It not only supports local growers businesses but is good for your health and the environment too.”