I tell you, with prices going through the roof and stories everywhere about food safety recalls, this is the year to grow your own vegetables, spices and herbs. If it’s something you’ve always considered — or maybe you did it in the past – here’s why you should consider it again in 2012.
1. Great tasting food! Nothing tastes quite like fresh, homegrown vegetables and herbs. Every recipe suddenly comes to life and the flavor just explodes in your mouth. There’s no “sitting-on-the-shelf” flavor, and you just can’t compare the flavor. And if it tastes good, you and your family are much more likely to eat the vital foods your body needs.
2. Safer food. If I could actually read, I would be alarmed at all the stories about recalls on spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and more. By growing your own food, there are no worries about contamination from the farms, manufacturing plants or during delivery. If it’s in your backyard, it’s safe!
3. Better health. Tilling the soil, planting, weeding, watering and harvesting gets you outdoors, breathing fresh air and burning a few calories while you’re at it. It’s also a great way to relax and get the stress out of your mind. While you’re working up a sweat, you also know fresh-grown food is packed with nutrients, high in fiber and low in calories.
4. Nutrient-packed veggies. Studies prove that organically grown food has more much-needed vitamins and minerals than vegetables grown with synthetic pesticides. A backyard garden starts with highly nourished soil, which means more nourishment for the plants and, ultimately, our bodies.
5. Less food waste. Did you know the average household throws out more than $600 of produce a year? That’s nuts! Of course, you’re more likely to throw out a mushy, store-bought tomato than one you nurtured in your garden. When something is “yours,” you probably won’t take it for granted. Plus, when it’s fresh, it tastes better, so it won’t go bad sitting in the vegetable bin.
6. Less environmental impact. Believe it or not, a garden in your backyard helps the planet. Growing food without pesticides and herbicides cuts down on air and water pollution, and less fossil fuel, as there is no need to transport vegetables from across the nation or even around the world.
7. A sense of pride. Planting seeds, nurturing them and watching them grow under your care gives you a feeling of accomplishment that’s hard to explain. It’s fun work that helps you nourish your family and maintain your health. Caring for plants is also a great way to teach kids about nature and give them a great sense of pride!
8. Save energy. Did you know today’s farms use more energy than any other single industry? Amazing but true. Farms eat up 12 percent of the country’s total energy supply. But you can make a difference. Growing your own food helps cut down on overall energy use.
9. Fight soil erosion. Today’s farmers face the worst soil erosion in history — more than 3 billion tons of topsoil every year! Every crop grown in the backyard rather than on a commercial farm helps reduce this very real problem.
10. Save money! It goes without saying that we could all “squirrel away” a few extra dollars in these tough times. Growing your own is a great way to do that. Studies show that for every $1 you spend on seeds, gardening tools and time, you get back nearly $2 in fresh produce! That’s what I call more bang for your buck!