16 reasons to live simply by starting a vegetable garden

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beautiful_gardenGardening is an integral part of simple living and a growing number of Americans are getting down in the dirt. According to a·National Gardening Association survey, food gardening was the only category of lawn and garden activity that saw a significant increase in household participation and spending in 2009. Food gardening participation increased by 14% while the total spent increased by 21% over 2008 levels. The Association defines food gardening as including vegetable gardening, fruit trees, growing berries, and herb gardening.

But if you’ve never really grown anything edible, you may be wondering why, exactly, so many people think gardening is so important.

Let’s see…

1.······ Gardening can save money. As long as you avoid the mindless, consumerist gardening gizmos and contraptions that fill the pages of gardening catalogs ($400 rainbarrels? Are you kidding me?), growing your own vegetables will save you money. Keep it simple sweetie, aim to use the energies and resources that are flowing through your property for free and you will come out ahead.

2.······ Gardening beats inflation. Even if you buy seedlings and seeds every year, growing some percentage of your own food will beat the inflationary spiral of food prices that’s sure to hit as peak oil begins to be felt. (Our entire industrial food system is based on oil; supplies are leveling out and will soon begin to decline.)

3.······ Gardening gets you back in touch with nature. When you’re outside, digging in the dirt or transplanting your seedlings, you become much more aware of the life that surrounds you. Birds sing, bees buzz, earthworms work the earth. Turns out humans aren’t the center of the universe after all.

4.······ A garden is beautiful and beauty fills you up, especially if the rest of your day has drained you.

5.······ Gardening is relaxing. It’s really, really hard to garden frantically. By definition, you must slow down and work with nature’s rhythms.

6.······ Gardening gives you free, gentle exercise: bending, twisting, dragging, lifting, digging, walking, pushing, and pulling. It’s hard to hurt yourself in a garden because the work generally isn’t all that repetitive and doesn’t pound your joints.

7.······ Home grown food tastes sublime. Think you don’t like Brussels sprouts? Then you’ve never had home grown ones. Vegetables from the industrial food system taste like they’re from another planet compared to the sweet, mild, tender veggies you grow yourself. There’s simply no comparison.

8.······ There’s no need for toxins: pesticides, herbicides, or chemical fertilizers unless you feel you must. Most home gardeners choose to go organic but even if you do resort to some chemical solution, you know exactly what was applied, how much was applied, and when. You’re in control.

9.······ Homegrown food is safer. The basic practices of home gardening do not subject the food to unsafe bacterial contamination and questionable handling – although canning must be done carefully according to modern scientific knowledge; freezing is easier. Again, though – you’re in control.

10.·· Increased food security in the age of peak oil. By most accounts, peak oil is here. Even the U.S. military admits it. When you really stop to think about the amount of fossil fuels used in the growing (tractor fuel, irrigation, and fertilizers), processing and transport of food, you can start to get pretty nervous about how peak oil may drastically affect food supplies in the future. Home growing goes a long way toward alleviating that fear.

11.·· Home grown food has a miniscule carbon footprint compared to industrial food, much of which is said to travel 1500 – 2500 miles from farm to fork. Think of the fossil fuels involved! How much longer can this go on?

12.·· Home grown food is fresher. Period. How can it not be, when it travels just a few feet from your garden to your plate?

13.·· Homegrown food is healthier. Industrially farmed food is grown on depleted, chemically fertilized fields with extremely low organic content. It stands to reason that the nutritional quality of such foods will be depleted as well.

14.·· You’ll have much more variety available if you grow your veggies yourself. Industrial seed stocks consist of a very few hybrid varieties and many of them have now been genetically modified. If you bypass this system and buy your seed from sources focused on maintaining genetic diversity and heirloom varieties, you will be amazed at the dozens of choices you have.

15.·· A garden keeps waste out of landfills. Home grown food has no need for expensive one-off plastic and paper packaging that will inevitably end up in the trash.

16.·· Growing your own deprives the industrial food system of a bit of its lifeblood: your money. As Jules Dervaes says, “In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can-and will-overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world-we change ourselves.” ·(Jules Dervaes and his family grow up to 6,000 lbs. of food each year on the tenth of an acre that surrounds their home in Pasadena, California. Check out·Path to Freedom Urban Homestead to learn more.)

Even if it’s the dead of winter where you are; even if all you have is a tiny patch of yard, a patio or a balcony, it is possible to grow some food! I hope this list has convinced you to give it a shot. You’ll be glad you did!

Found at White Pines Whisper

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