You don’t have to be retired nor have gardening as a major hobby to know there are some most excellent reasons to grow your own food. It is becoming quite the trendy thing to do in both the UK and USA. More and more of us are waking up to the issues of highly processed foods, supermarket standards that keep prices high (did you know that supermarkets will only buy veggies within certain lengths and of uniform shapes?), lack of seasonality, food miles and agricultural methods. If you want to jump on this great craze, I hope I can convince you with some of the most compelling reasons to grow your own food. Read on my green-fingered friends.
Does jogging or going to the gym seem like the biggest bore to you? Well, one of the best reasons to grow your own food is that you can lose a few extra pounds just by tending to your garden. Planting, weeding, raking rows, building raised beds, moving dirt and turning compost are all great for burning calories and putting your muscles to work. Looking after your veggies takes on-going effort!
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the common pesticides used in agriculture cause around 4 million cases of birth defects, cancer, genetic mutations, and nerve damage every year. And that’s only in the US! And if the NAS conclusions aren’t enough for you, know that the EPA states that 30 % of insecticides, 60 % of herbicides, and 90 % of fungicides are carcinogenic. So, what would you rather do? Order custom clothes and shoes for your three-legged baby and die at 40 due to cancer, or put in a little effort and make your own organic garden. Excuse the morbid joke, and yes it’s taking things to the extreme, but if you can’t handle simply imagining such a scenario, my hunch is you won’t do very well having to actually experience it.
Besides the fact that the organic foods grown in your own garden are much healthier and more nutritious than the pesticide-laden ones, they also taste far better. Just try a homegrown tomato, for example. Compared to the explosion of sweet juiciness you’ll experience, the tomatoes you usually find in grocery stores will simply taste like wax. You see, you have very good reasons to grow your own food even if you don’t care that much about your health.
If you are an environmentalist, you’ll have all the more reasons to grow your own food. Gardening will automatically create a great habitat for beneficial wildlife, such as birds, pollinator insects, and even amphibians in some cases. You should already know why pollinator insects can be very beneficial. As for the birds and amphibians, they are great for pest control. They love to eat the insects that could damage your garden, thus eliminating the need for harsh chemical insecticides. Plus, watching the wildlife in your garden and listening to the birds singing can be the ideal stress relief!
One of the best reasons why you should grow your own food is that it will lower your food costs considerably in the long run. Granted, starting your own garden will have you digging deep into your pockets at first to pay for materials, but the long term financial savings will be totally worth it. What’s more, besides lowering food costs, you will also be saving quite a lot on medical bills, since you and your family will be a lot healthier and stronger overall.
Corporate agriculture has turned to genetic modification and mono-cropping to reap larger profits, leaving the agricultural lands lacking in nutrients and minerals. Thus, they had to resort to artificial fertilizers, which have led to the appearance of pesticide-resistant viruses and insects that cause severe soil erosion and affect large crops. One of the best reasons to grow your own food, if you care about this planet’s future, is that you will decrease the demand for such destructive practices, improving biodiversity and protecting the soil.
Gardening has been part of our lives for over 10,000 years, since we first realized that we can grow our own food. Thus, simply starting your own garden will allow you to reconnect to your roots and remember that you are but a tiny part of nature and that you should treat it with respect and gratitude.
I wish I had enough space to grow my own food properly. I do it on a small scale with a few things in pots and rely on an organic box scheme for my veggies. Are you convinced by these reasons to grow your own food or are you happy buying organic? Maybe you’re happy with supermarket shopping? Please, do tell.
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