Grow your own endangered veg

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MSN Environment (UK)

Growing your own veg may save on airmiles, pesticides, and your pocket, but with UN research showing 98% of vegetable varieties have disappeared in the last century, it could also mean you're keeping alive an endangered species on your very own windowsill.

While 7,000 plants have been cultivated since farming began, nearly all of the world's food - 90% - comes from 15 plant species alone. But now organic food brand Seeds Of Change has teamed up with Garden Organic, the charity that safeguards the UK's Heritage Seed Library, to get Brits growing 10 varieties of veg that were common before the on-set of modern agriculture.

Promoted by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc and TV gardener Kim Wilde, the Dig Your Dinner campaign is also donating 1% of the sales of the tomato, onion, pea, cucumber and French bean varieties to Garden Organic to help safeguard Britain's veg even further.

"I'm a great believer in having a go at growing your own veg, even if you haven't got a clue how to do it," explains Kim, who didn't start herself until her 30s. "I was overwhelmed when I started and had this terrible idea I couldn't grow anything. But I quickly realised it was a simple matter of sowing a seed and looking after it a little bit, and in planting a seed, you suddenly find yourself being interested in being a cook again. It tastes fantastic and you know where it's coming from."

The Dig Your Dinner seeds include the Brighstone Dwarf French Bean, said to have been saved from a shipwreck off the west coast of the Isle of Wight in the late 1800s; and the Gravedigger Pea, a sweet variety cultivated by a gravedigger in Kidlington, near Oxford.

The Seeds of Change Dig Your Dinner Campaign launches today, so get growing! Visit www.digyourdinner.co.uk for further details.