We all have our different reasons for wanting a garden and the garden certain has so much more to offer than food. Ultimately, yes, the veggie garden will give you food but it will also give you an awareness of nature, it gives you exercise, relaxation and perhaps the most suprising thing, it gives you community. Somehow gardeners find each other and next thing you know, you are giving garden tours, seed swapping, produce exchanging and compost inspecting together!
Modern society is so far removed from food production that kids would be foriven in thinking apples grow on superarket shelves and meat is grown in cool rooms wrapped in plastic. Having your own garden is a great opportunity to teach your kids or grandkids how things are grown, where food comes from and how to care for living things. Surely learning how to grow food is a life skill we should pass on to our little ones.
We have all been guilty of leaving something to go mouldy in the back of the fridge. When you grow your own you learn to value food and the effort it takes to be produced. You pick it when you need it, eat it fresh, or learn to preserve your harvest so you can enjoy your home grown food all year long.
Variety. Well the shocking truth is the varities of fresh produce sold in supermarkets are chosen not for taste, not for nutrition, but for shelf-life and the fruit/veg ablility to withstand transport. There are hundreds-thousands of different varieties of fresh food that we never will see on the supermarket shelves because they don’t transport well, they don’t have a long shelf life, they bruise easily or they just don’t look like what we have been conditioned to think they should look like. When you grow your own, you will be amazed at the heirloom varities that are available. Carrots, silverbeet, tomatoes and beetroot come in a rainbow of colours. You can grow purple podded peas, sweet fragrant strawberries and your own chamomile tea!
If we all grew some of our own food, imagine the impact it could have on the environment. Imagine you needed some mint. If you have it in the garden, you just go out and pick it. If you didn’t have any growing, you have to get in your car, drive the the supermarket, go to the refridgerated section, find the plastic packet that contains the bunch of mint, and drive back home again. Don’t forget that this mint has been grown somewhere, probably not locally, transported and refrigerated before it got to the supermarket. That’s a lot of energy usage for just one bunch of mint. Now multiply this by all the products in the supermarket and you get an idea of the amount of energy/fossil fuels are required to produce our food.
In the backyard garden, you can collect your rain water, make your own compost and use a bit of man/woman power to produce your food. Environmentally this makes so much sense.
Who knows that eating good fresh food is expensive. Its cheap to eat processed junk food. Now, to eat fresh organic food is more expensive again. For most families this is an unrealistic dream. The good news is everything in your backyard can be grown robustly and organically. You are in control of what goes into and onto the food you will eat. So easy, so cool and so achieveable.