If you think that more people around you are getting involved with growing food plants around their house, you are correct. There are some very good reasons why you should consider doing so yourself.
- Most retail chains today procure fruits and vegetables from large producers. These are usually grown far away from where they are eventually consumed, with additional costs and losses between the harvest and the table. In most cases they are bred and selected for shape, colour and size, and the ability to withstand the long journey from the farm to the retail store, rather than nutrition or taste. Fruits and vegetables grown in your own garden, on the other hand, are likely to be higher in nutrients, even if they look less “perfect” than store-bought produce. Depending on the climate and your soil, they can end up tasting way better than standardised off-the-shelf product.
- If children help in the garden, it is more likely that they will eat more of the fruits and vegetables that they have helped to grow and pluck. In today’s world of screens and sedentary lifestyles, gardening is a great way to increase physical activity for the whole family. Start early with kids – hand them gardening tools before you hand them a mobile phone.
- Fruits and vegetables from your own plants and trees allow you to reduce the pesticides, creating a direct benefit on your health. You are in direct control of what you feed your plants and how you tend to them, unlike store-bought produce where you are never sure what protected and fed the plant that gave the fruit you are buying.
- Community and private horticulture can help to cut kitchen and garden waste by turning it into compost, adding much-needed richness to the soil. It can help cut out all the packaging waste materials of bulk-produced, store-bought fruits and vegetables that end up in the landfill.
- Gardening also helps to develop a sense of wonder and gratitude – one can argue that that itself is worth a lifetime of anti-ageing medication.
- While you might spend time and money in growing fruits and vegetables, your garden’s abundance can help to cut monthly grocery bills, and the extra produce may be shared with family, friends, neighbours and even your local charity.
- Increasingly people around the world are growing their own vegetables not only for themselves, but also to sell the excess and create an extra stream of income. Some are going a step beyond and turning chefs, using their own produce. Who knows, there may be a new career waiting to unfold!
- A personal involvement in growing our own food is more than an investment into our kitchen and health – it can build a community between parents, teachers and students, and revive the connection between education and the nature surrounding us.
People around the world are waking up to the possibility of turning empty or abandoned land into productive use for food. Explore the possibility of pushing officials to support public involvement in food production in your city or town.
The fruits and vegetables from that little garden can be great for our own health, wealth and the city as a whole.