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Small start grows into a real success.

SMALL is growing into something big at next week's show.

A booming area is the smallholdings section as keeping chickens or bees in the back garden becomes an ever more popular hobby.

Anyone interested in growing their own fruit and veg or getting going on an allotment will find help and advice alongside the professional farmers.

In the past year, the smallholder retailer Countrywide has seen a 40 per cent increase in net sales across all poultry products in the past year.

Simon McEwan, editor of Country Smallholding magazine, said: "Many suppliers say business has been very brisk over the past year. From humble beginnings in the 1970s, the grow-your-own revolution is gathering pace.

"More and more people are growing their own food - it costs less, tastes good and is good for you.

"Concerns about food security, climate change, food miles and the energy crisis are also considerations. No doubt the credit crunch is having an effect too."

Sarah Beveridge, of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, said: "Keeping chickens is just the start.

"We will be offering advice and practical demonstrations on beekeeping, milking goats and even spinning the wool from your own alpacas."

Likewise a growing area in the show is the farmers' market area. There is a marquee set aside for the small-scale producers to show off their wares.

Exhibitors will be either the farmers themselves or small manufacturers.

In the farmers' market area, near to the food hall, there are 17 exhibitors selling products such as ciders, meats, fudges, oatcakes, ice cream and bacon. "It's all about helping farmers," says Jo Illsely of the RASE. "It's cutting links in the chain between the farmers and the customers.

GRAND RING TIMES: PAGE 42
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 4, 2009
Words:286
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