7 Reasons Why You Should Grow Your Own Food
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Not that being part of a trend is ever a good reason to start or learn something new, but if it helps you move forward by being part of the "in" crowd, then you really need to plant your own edible garden this year.
That's right, having your own vegetable garden is now trendy. In fact according to the 2009 Edibles Gardening Trends Research Report conducted by the Garden Writer’s Association (GWA) Foundation, over 41 million U.S. households, or 38 percent planted a vegetable garden in 2009. And, more than 19.5 million households (18 percent) grew an herb garden and 16.5 million households (15 percent) grew fruits during the same period.
The study found that there was a growth in edible gardening from both experienced gardeners and from an influx of new gardeners: 92 percent of respondents had previous experience and 7 percent (7.7 million households) were new edible gardeners.
And one-third of the experienced gardeners grew more edibles in 2009 than in the previous year. The GWA indicates that given the strong response for plans to grow more edibles into 2010, the vegetable gardening trend will continue and there will likely be a new high level of edible gardening activity this year.
Another survey done by the American Gardening Association showed a 19 percent increase in new hobby country farms and urban edible gardens in 2009 over 2008.
So, aside from its popularity, do you need some other reasons to grown your own food?
- The GWA's survey found that the main reason given for increasing or maintaining edible gardening last year was to supplement household food supply — to help them save money on food. That alone is a very powerful reason.
- There is nothing more local than food grown in your own backyard, your windowsills, or on patio containers.
- Growing your own fruits and vegetables means that you know exactly what does and does not go into your food and exactly where it comes from.
- You will get healthier in a number of ways. Not only will you end up eating more fruits and vegetables, but you will be getting added exercise. Did you know that you can burn as many calories in 45 minutes of gardening as you can in 30 minutes of aerobics? And, working in the garden reduces stress.
- You will get a bigger variety of your favorite fruits and vegetables because you can choose from hundreds of different varieties and you can grow the things you like the best.
- You can teach your children or grandchildren where their food actually comes from and that it doesn’t come from the supermarket but from the soil, the earth that we all depend on.
Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.