By Pam Roberts, Bicester-based green campaigner

THERE are many things that we can do to ‘save the planet’ which will also save money.

One big expense is food but it is estimated that half the food that is produced is wasted.

Tons of vegetables and fruit are thrown away by commercial food producers because they are misshapen.

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This is a crime because so much energy has gone into their production. Why does it matter if a parsnip or carrot is not straight if it’s going to be chopped up anyway?

Reducing food waste at home saves lots of money.

Left-over vegetables can enrich a lovely soup or curry or be cooked as a tasty side dish like ‘bubble and squeak’.

Food labelled with a ‘sell-by’ date can be stored longer than the stated limit as these labels are not ‘use-by’ dates.

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Vegetable peelings and tough outer leaves go into my home composting bin and are chopped up with torn up waste paper or cardboard. Composting is easy because nature does it for us.

The spores of the fungi that break down plant waste are ubiquitous and are just waiting to get to work. Compost worms finish the job of creating lovely crumbly compost to enrich the garden all for free.

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Growing vegetables in the garden is a joyful and healthy thing to do and saves money.

I grow perpetual spinach which can be harvested for several years without any effort. I let some go to seed to make new plants.

I also leave a few leek plants to flower and set seed but having cut off the flower stalk, the plants regenerate new shoots from the root as well.

These just need dividing up and planting to make another perfect crop.

Raspberries are so expensive to buy but so easy to grow at home.

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The plants multiply by producing new shoots from underground so generate a bigger crop for free.

One year I cut some old stems from my blackcurrant bushes and used them as stakes to support some tomato plants.

After harvesting the tomatoes, I found the stakes had rooted to give me a complete new row of blackcurrant bushes.

Working with nature is the only way forward for the human race.

The ecosystem we are part of and absolutely depend on, is truly miraculous.

It will provide all we need if we let it.

Last week’s United Nations report on biodiversity, food and agriculture said that we must not overshoot the carrying capacity of our environment.

If we exhaust, poison or destroy it, then there is no future.