Still haven’t made a New Year’s Resolution? Don’t believe in resolutions, but want to do something to improve your life this year? Here’s an idea which you can accomplish and which will benefit your health, happiness, community, and wallet while also helping to achieve greater environmental sustainability, social justice and food security (among the myriad benefits). . . this year, learn to grow your own organic food.
Here’s a long list of reasons for why growing your own food can vastly improve your life:
1) Growing your own food reconnects you to the natural environment, an environment that we are increasingly disconnected from in our too-busy, technological, and largely artificial lives. (Although it often doesn’t feel like it, we are very much part of and dependent on the interconnected world around us, not outside it). 2) Growing food teaches us and those around us where food really comes from, and expands our horizons as we learn about the vast variety of food we are able to grow (and often not buy) in almost any climate. 3) Eating food you have grown means you are eating the freshest and healthiest food available, grown not only locally, but hyper-locally in the area surrounding the area you call home. 4) Growing your own food means there are no transportation costs associated with (at least some of) the food you are eating, and no transportation costs means a healthier natural environment for everyone’s benefit.
Remember as a kid how much fun it was to play in the dirt? 5) Growing food allows you this joy once again; healthy soil is the most important factor in growing healthy food and getting your hands dirty feels just as great as it did when you were a kid. If you’re a kid who wants to grow food, dig in!
6) Engaging manually – with the soil, with seeds, with compost and mulch, with flowers as they bloom and vegetables and fruits once they mature and ripen – a sometimes methodical, sometimes spontaneous act, produces a sense of euphoria and calm, while inspiring awe and humility. 7) All of these feelings uplift the human spirit, make us feel alive, create a sense of joy that the ho-hum of modern life often doesn’t provide.
8) Growing food saves you money because you can avoid the grocery store, and all of the products you might have shopped for which don’t really count as food anyways. 9) Growing food teaches us about simplicity and living closer to the land, yet demonstrates for us how little control over nature we really have. It’s enlightening. 10) When we grow our own food, we create security for ourselves, our families, and anyone else we share this food with because we have enabled our own access to healthy food. 11) When we grow food as a community or in public spaces we affirm the importance of health, social and environmental justice, local sustainability and the beautification and pride in where and how we chose to live. 12) When we grow organically, we protect our health from exposure to pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and hormones, and we help prevent everyone and everything else from exposure too. 13) If we share the responsibilities of growing food with others we also get to reap the benefits with them – more quality face-to-face time, less time on Facebook. 14) Growing food means getting outside – in the sun, in the rain – whatever the weather; who doesn’t love an excuse to leave the confines of the indoors?
This list could go on and on, but I’ll leave you with this: 15) grow your own food because it will open the door of reality to all of the important, natural, real, turned-off, tuned-out experiences we are allowing to slip away from us as humans; growing your own food might just enable you to (re)prioritize your life for the better.
(Oh, also do it because it tastes real damn good.)
Convinced and ready to get started? Tips and ideas for how to begin growing your own food coming up in the next post… stay tuned.