The 10 Top Reasons To Grow Your Own Food

The 10 Top Reasons To Grow Your Own Food

Fresh vegetablesA lot of the time you’ll find me talking about growing your own food (or, rather, how to grow your own food).

I guess I have been assuming that you are interested in growing your own food, whether you have yet to start, are just starting out, are struggling, or just looking for some extra tips.

And I probably assumed that you want to grow your own food because it’s better for it saves you money and/or it’s better for your health and/or the environment.

But they are pretty big assumptions.

So I thought I should go back to the basics and outline the 10 top reasons why you should grow your own food.

(And because this post contains so much important information, it’s a bit longer than usual…but I’ve tried to organise it so it will be quick to read. 🙂 (HINT: the most important reason is near the end. )

1.      To save money

This is the most common reason people grow their own food.

That’s because growing your own food usually costs less than buying it…and all the costs (including environmental and decent living costs) been factored into the ‘price’.

2.      So you know how it was grown

When you grow your own food you know if chemicals have been used or not…and, if so, which and how much.

And most people who grow their own food at home prefer to avoid chemicals in order to protect their health and that of their families, their animals and their local environment.  “

And, of course, by when you grow your own food without chemicals you make savings because you are not paying for the chemicals and their effects on you and the environment.

3.      For freshness

Home-grown food has zero food-miles – it can go straight from growing to your mouth (perhaps via a pot ;)).

Gathering your food from your garden offers more convenience than having to go to shops.  You can pick your own food on your way to the door or during a stroll around your home and garden.

And, if you carefully choose what you grow and how you grow it, your food-storage needs (particularly cold storage requiring electricity) can be much lower than with store-bought food.

4.      For variety

Many foods and varieties of food that you can grow at home are not available in shops.

And a lot of them also give you longer harvest seasons (instead of requiring all the crop to be harvested at once).  This is particularly true of heirloom varieties.

5.      To protect the environment

When you grow your own food you are helping the environment in a number of ways:

  • Food grown at home has lower greenhouse gas emissions than store-bought food.  It does not have the very large energy input (usually from fossil fuels) that goes into:
    –       commercial farming
    –       transporting food long distances (from farm to distributor to shop to home) and
    –       storing the food.
  • If you use organic methods to grow your own food, you improve the health of your soil.  The main ways of doing this are:
    –       adding carbon to it
    –       increasing microbes and
    –       reducing chemical loads.
  • Growing your own food at home also helps keep soil in place.  That’s because, occupying very small patches of land (if any), it is less likely to be eroded by wind or water than commercial food-growing operations, which generally have large areas of land exposed to the elements.

6.      Protect biodiversity

Growing a wide range of food varieties helps maintain biodiversity and the accompanying genetic diversity.

Maintaining diversity is vital for meeting the challenges of the future…particularly in light of climate change, because rapid environmental changes (such as we are facing with climate change) makes it very difficult to adapt genetically, and this is what typically leads to mass extinctions.  If we confine our food sources to a very small genetic pool of a few species, our food supply would be unlikely to survive the rapid environmental changes we are starting to see.

7.      Because gardening is good for you

Gardening is good for your body, mind and soul.

Gardening can provide you with exercise, as gentle or vigorous as you like.

  • Because it is usually weight-bearing, gardening is good for strengthening your bones as well your muscles.
  • All gardening helps keep you supple.
  • Vigorous gardening can give you an aerobic work-out
  • Exercise helps you sleep better and reduce your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Gardening is great for reducing stress, improving focus and boosting your mood.

And gardening connects you to nature and your primal state, largely by your senses.

8.      To teach your children or grandchildren where food comes from

Otherwise they think it comes from a shop.

9.      For fun and friendship

Home-grown food helps build your community.  You can share produce, seeds, and seedlings with neighbours, which saves everyone money and helps build resilient communities.

And when you grow your own food, you can grow some weird and wonderful shapes…like hugging carrots. 🙂

10.  So you will have food

This is obvious : if you grow food, you will have food.

But did you know that you could NEED to grow your own food sooner than you might think, because of a convergence of crises as we reach or exceed the Earth’s biophysical limits?

These crises that have begun or that we are approaching rapidly include climate change and reducing availability of oil, water and arable land.  For example, land available for agriculture is reducing, partly because we keep building on it and partly because topsoil is blown or washed away.

Julian Cribb’s book The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It explains how these crises have arisen and work together to threaten our food supplies by the middle of this century (in some areas it’s already happening)…and some ideas for dealing with this problem.

Food security is an issue, but growing food locally (like in your garden or on your balcony) is one of the best ways of addressing that issue and building the resilience of food supplies.

Learning and practising how to grow your own food now so you can have food in the future is probably the best reason to grow your own food.  And if you need further convincing, I encourage you to read The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do to Avoid It.

Thoughts?  Just leave your comments in the Reply box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!