Gardening is starting to make a comeback as many people are learning the value of eating locally and organically grown foods. However, many of us are so used to modern, suburban living that we no longer have the skills to garden and grow our own lands — nor do we have connections to those who do. Gardening used to be a common skill that was passed down from generation to generation. Sadly, that practice has fallen by the wayside.
Whether you live in an urban high-rise or have a little plot of land in a suburban neighborhood, you can grow your own garden and bring this practice back to favor. If you aren’t convinced, consider these 5 reasons why you should grow a garden:
Access to Fresh Food
When you grow your own garden, you always have access to fresh food. You don’t have to buy food that has been grown in artificial conditions or that has been grown in climates on the other side of the globe. You can walk right into your backyard (or onto your porch) and harvest foods that are available right now. Fresh food is more nutritious and more delicious.
Access to Healthy Food
You can’t grow a Snickers bar in your garden. All the foods you grow are going to be healthy and nutritious foods that you can indulge in without guilt — and can actually feel encouraged to eat without abandon. When you grow foods organically, you can also be sure that they are not treated with pesticides or other harmful chemicals, making your personally grown produce more healthy than that which you could buy in the store.
Growing your own food costs pennies on the dollar for what you would pay buying the same foods in the grocery store. When you grow your own garden, you can cut down your grocery budget significantly. Depending on how much you grow and how many other types of foods you eat, you could conceivably save up to 90 percent of your grocery bill just by growing a garden.
If you ask most children where bread comes from, they will tell you the store. Few people have a proper understanding of the farm to table food chain. By growing your own garden, you learn more about how food is produced, how the eco-system is affected, and a little bit about the politics of the food industry. Those are good lessons for yourself and good lessons to teach your children.
Growing your own food helps to reduce your environmental impact. When you don’t contribute to the industrial food chain, fewer foods have to be raised with the assistance of harmful chemicals and fewer foods have to be shipped long distances, using up natural resources like gas. Choosing to grow an organic garden can increase your environmental stewardship even more.
Growing a garden may seem like an old-timey tradition, but many people are beginning to understand the rewards of growing a garden and are reviving the practice. If you aren’t convinced that you should join the local foods renaissance, consider these reasons for why you should grow a garden.
Do you grow your own garden? Share your reasons in the comments!
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance writer and researcher for Culinaryschools.org, where recently she’s been researching culinary schools in vermont. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.