The Argument for Growing Your Own Food

When you walk into the grocery store and head to the produce section, you can always expect to have a cornucopia of vibrant colors and flavors meeting your eyes.

But what you don’t see are the plethora of different chemicals that coats all of the delectable apples, cucumbers, and peaches. Ever the invisible enemy, you can’t see, taste, or smell them – but they run rampant in the food that you consume every day.

Many farmers use herbicides and pesticides to promote growth. Unfortunately, this chemical comes with a price: it is a known carcinogen for humans and animals alike. From Phytoestrogens to Thiabendazole, from Formetanate Hydrochloride to Prothiofos, these dangerous tongue-twisters cause health issues that we can’t even begin to grasp.

There is a solution – and a fun one, at that! In 2012, Harvard Medical School posted an article that lauded the benefits of growing your own food. They cited three core benefits:

It helps you eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.” Having a garden in our backyard – or on your back porch – is the produce-lovers equivalent of living in a candy shop. With fresh new edibles at your fingertips every day, you’ll be integrating them effortlessly into all of your meals.

backyard garden
image courtesy of Vmenkov

You decide what kinds of fertilizers and pesticides come in contact with your food.” Want to stay far away from any chemicals? It’s completely within your power. If you do opt to use fertilizers, you can educate yourself on the best option that works for you so there are no surprises.

community garden
image courtesy of Kristen Taylor

It lets you control when to harvest your food.” Often, the produce that you find in grocery stores has been plucked prematurely to ensure that it is fresh when it gets to the grocery store. This means that they are being harvested before they reach their full capacity of nutrients. Also, there’s just nothing better than a fresh-picked fruit or veggie. You really can taste the difference.

One thing is really important: keep it fun. Chances are, you won’t be able to grow all of your food – and if you live in Alaska but can’t resist a grapefruit, indulge in a grapefruit (but maybe head to the organic section!). Enjoy the small steps. If you grow your own beets, try out some tasty new recipes. If you harvest tomatoes, find different ways to enjoy them with your meals.

And now, the logistics. Go here to find a community garden near your home. You can also use this resource to understand what fruits and veggies are in season throughout the year. Finally, get your hands dirty and have some fun outside!

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