Over the last few years, there has been a surge in the popularity of growing your own food. In many instances, this trend has been fuelled by concerns about climate change, rising food costs, ‘air miles’, and the simple desire for fresh, healthy, ‘real’ food.
It is probably no coincidence that this has occurred during a time of global economic crisis. Although growing some of your own food won’t solve your financial worries, any gardener will tell you that gardening makes you happy and, keep you sane. Add to that fun, sense of satisfaction, and utter joy that eating something you have grown yourself brings and it is no wonder so many people are giving it a go.
This trend is probably here to stay. Apart from the fact that the growing-your-own food movement has been driven by real need, whether financial, environmental or a desire for delicious food, it is also kept going by the interest of gardeners. Once you have tried it, there is little inclination to retreat!
Top 6 benefits of growing your food at home
- Save Money
- Fresh Produce
- Improved Mental Health
- Less Environmental Impact
- Sense of Community
- Health Benefits
Buying good quality organic food can be very expensive. By growing food at home you will be saving money weekly on your grocery bill and eating healthier and tastier at the same time. Start by planting what you and your family enjoy eating the most, and you can slowly increase the variety of plants in your garden.
Also, food gardening is a great low-cost and healthy family activity. What better than teaching your children how to grow food and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables?
There is just no comparison between the plastic-wrapped fruit and vegetables on the local grocery store or supermarket shelves, and something you have grown from seed, tended, and nurtured against the worst of the weather and munching slugs. The food is fresh, healthy, often free of chemicals and guilt, and tastes amazing.
Improved Mental Health
Gardening is a great activity that can be done away from the screens, outdoors, in contact with nature, fresh air and natural light. There is something special about watching the seeds grow and transform into a beautiful plant and start growing fruit. Enjoying those simple things brings joy to the soul, reduces stress and is good for overall mental health.
Less Environmental Impact
Natural systems have an inbuilt control mechanism to keep pests within manageable levels based on balance and biodiversity. In natural systems, each pest has a predator that keeps populations in balance so that as populations increase so do the predators who feed on the pests. When natural habitats are destroyed to make way for agricultural crops or backyards, nesting places for birds or insects are destroyed, and a single pest gets an unnatural advantage, and inflicts damage to crops.
Also, by growing our food we reduce food waste, as we only pick what we are ready to eat and, we keep the rest in the plant for longer where it keeps fresh. Usually, fruits and vegetables not sold at grocery stores and supermarkets will end up in the rubbish.
Sense of Community
What better way of engaging with your neighbours than sharing some of your freshly picked fruits and vegetables with them? or giving to them in exchange for whatever they are growing? Also, if you are able to access a community garden where you live, it is a great way to meet new people, grow additional crops that may be too large for the space you have available at home, and learn from other gardeners around your local area.
All fruit and vegetables are vital components of a healthy diet. The pigments that plants develop to protect their tissue from the damaging effects of sunlight contain the health-protecting antioxidants for us. The richer the colour of the fruits and vegetables, the greater the concentration.
When you buy fruit at supermarkets, like strawberries that are intentionally picked unripe to extend shelf life, you are buying food with substantially reduced vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. By growing your own food, you have access to eat the produce properly ripe and, straight from the plant.
Your health depends on colour, so choose the richest-coloured fruits and vegetables to help fight cancer and minimise the effects of ageing.
Growing food at home has multiple benefits for your health, well-being and for the planet as well. Anyone can get started, you don’t need a big backyard or garden, container gardening works great too.