Action à la cart: What does growing veg in a trailer have to do with saving the coastline?

Two National Trust workers on an ecological roll explain all to Emma Townshend

Robyn Davies is the National Trust surf project co-ordinator for Cornwall, so she's a bit off her regular beat this morning. Instead of worrying about board wax and wetsuits, she's standing in the stable yard at Penrose, near Helston on the Lizard Peninsula, showing off a portable vegetable patch: a trailer full of leeks and lettuce. "Well, part of my job is raising awareness of the state of the beaches and the coastline. And growing your own veg cuts down on food miles, which helps to slow down the effects of climate change and protect our coasts. It's all connected."

Davies has already devised several visually vivid projects to highlight the coastal erosion we might expect in Britain with rising sea levels: at Godrevy, a famous surf spot on Cornwall's north coast, people were asked to guess, by planting bright-red flags, where the cliff might stand in 50 years' time. "Climate change isn't just about polar bears! It's about our coast too," Davies says. The resulting graphic image of coastal change shocked passers-by. But can we save the world via lettuce?

With the veg garden in a trailer, Davies aims for a gentle prod to hearts and minds through appearances at local events. "You might look at a lettuce and wonder what that is going to achieve. But every little bit does help. And you can grow such a lot in such a small space." The trailer garden is a perfect lesson in how to do it, with two rows of gorgeous frondy carrots, another of celery stems thickening up, a cherry-tomato plant covered in tiny green fruit, the green shoots of spring onions, a choice of different-coloured lettuce, and herbs such as camomile, dill, parsley and basil.

After chatting for a while, we take a tour with south-west Cornwall's visitor services manager, Layla Astley, who lets us into the old walled garden of the Penrose Estate. "We're hoping to have allotments here, and maybe even a community garden," she explains. The National Trust has committed itself to providing 1,000 new allotments across Britain, and hopefully some will be right here in this gorgeous, sheltered, baking south-facing spot. To register interest, visit www.landshare.net.

With both Landshare and its Food Glorious Food campaign, the National Trust is shaping up to be an active force in changing the way we eat. And Astley and Davies represent part of a new breed at the Trust, genuinely passionate about their cause. "It's not a bandwagon," says Davies. "This is something I totally believe in. Having supermarket-style choices in food is one thing, but there's nothing more satisfying than growing your own."

For summer events at National Trust UK properties, visit www.foodgloriousfood.org.uk

Home harvests: Learn to grow your own

Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire is holding a tomato festival, with a chance to taste many of its 50 varieties. 15-16 August, www.wimpole.org

Treasurer's House, York is holding a scariest vegetable monster competition. And there's something a bit different in the tea room: chocolate beetroot cake. 22-23 August, www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Standen, Sussex is celebrating National Kitchen Garden Day with demonstrations and tastings. 23 August, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/standen

Only got a windowbox? The Trust is after you too, getting people to grow ruby chard and beetroot on their sills. See the Food Glorious Food website for details

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin