Monday, June 11, 2012

Why Grow Your Own Food? My 10 Reasons

It's true, having a vegetable garden can be hard work. And for those of us who live where fruits and veggies are cheap and plentiful it hardly seems worth the cost. I've probably spent $200 on seeds this year and that money would buy a lot of produce from the local market. But I grow food for other reasons.

1. It's exercise. And I need more.
2. I get superior quality produce.
3. It's naturally grown without poisonous sprays.
4. I can control what varieties I grow and not be limited to the common dozen found in the store. 5. My produce is fresher. This means it gets picked when ripe and eaten quickly.
6. I have food security...there's always something to eat in the garden or the root cellar. If I lose my job, I'll still have food for the table and more time for gardening. That's why I think that everyone on a limited budget, social assistance, food stamps etc. should be able to get seeds to plant a garden. Healthier food than the food bank and it's better to work for it yourself.
7. Once planted, it doesn't cost me much else but water and labour to get food to harvest so I know my vegetable budget early. I'm not affected by shortages and price spikes. No $2 tomatoes for us! We can learn new techniques from library books and online for free also.
8. I can grow quantities of produce suitable for home storage, either bottling or cellaring.
9. I can grow produce to trade with my neighbours, to sell and make some money to pay for next years seeds, and to give as gifts.
10. Nothing is wasted. Weeds and veggie trimmings go to the chickens and livestock and in turn we eat the livestock or eggs. We also compost keep the manure and put it back into the soil to maintain fertility.

Another thing that's fun (though not during times of heavy work) is time together as a family. I will end up doing a lot of the initial planting myself as the kids are in school. But summer holidays are coming and they will be able to help me with weeding, harvesting and re-planting. Teaching them to grow food is an important life skill. Teaching them how to bottle, dry, store and keep seeds are also really important extensions of this learning process.

In a modern western country like Canada it may seem a bit odd or hippy-ish to be growing vegetables. Old-fashioned like your grandparents did. But I'll keep doing it anyways and next year we'll have a CSA subscription service available for people in Nova Scotia who want good wholesome veggies delivered each week. We can't do it in 2012, there's simply not time to set it up properly. Better to have things ready to go and get prepared for next spring.

We hear in the news about food scarcity and how prices are going up. It's true, and it's affecting everyone though the poor suffer most. If we all grew more of our produce and wasted less food then we wouldn't need to double agricultural production at the rates they're saying. If everyone who ever read my blog had a garden, that's about 60k of you, and produced 200 lbs of veggies a year...that's 12,00,000 lbs of veggies garden fresh and healthy. That my friends, is an awful lot of veg! 12 million pounds! And it all starts one pot of herbs or small patch of lettuce at a time! Never think your garden isn't worth while. And if you do wonder if it's all worth this article.

So there you have it. Some of the many reasons I grow a garden.

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