The 71-year-old is highly regarded within his field and is muted by some experts as helping reignite the British public’s love with the outdoors – and particularly their gardens. He is a vocal advocate of the gardening industry, most recently demonstrated by his fury at Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Government’s decision to shut all garden centres and nurseries as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. At the time in March, Alan argued that the industry would be decimated if the stores were not allowed to reopen, and within weeks the BBC star got his wish, with the centres among the first shops allowed to start trading again.
And last year, Alan discussed another topic which was close to his heart – this time, ensuring gardening is safeguarded for the foreseeable future.
He explained that the “curriculum should cater for, at least, several periods each week, outdoors”.
The star said: “Even in inner city schools you can do it. There are green spaces. We know it’s good for them, they let off steam.
“I don’t need to spout Latin names at my grandchildren but they adore being outside, whether it’s collecting eggs from chickens or picking raspberries or just running around.
“They are the future custodians of the landscape. We need to get them familiar with it.”
He also advised that youngsters growing up needed to know more about global warming, as opposed to just being aware of it.
Alan added: “We can’t keep bringing them up just telling them disaster stories and what’s going wrong.
“They will all grow up knowing about global warming and climate change.”
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Alan became a household name after decades on TV screens, with his lead coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show the jewel in his crown.
He has continued to use that profile to support the industry and in another episode, Alan raged about people eating fruit and vegetables out of season.
He argued last year – while writing for ‘Gardener’s World’ – that we should only be eating produce grown in the UK in order to protect the industry throughout the year.
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Alan said: “We shouldn’t be eating tomatoes and strawberries in the middle of winter.
“I fume when, in the middle of summer, my local supermarket is selling tomatoes from Spain when we are producing plenty of tasty fruits on the Isle of Wight.
“We really should support our local growers and do our bit to make this country more efficient at producing food.”
As well as his rallying cry, Alan also wanted people to change their diets and the way they eat in order to ensure the land in the UK is used to be more efficient in terms of food production.
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