Why raise your food? Isn’t it enough to rely on grocery stores to bring you everything you need? I got three words for ya – taste, nutrition, and self-reliance.
First, the taste of the fruits and vegetables you’ll find in most grocery stores is definitely lacking. Modern farming methods mean choosing plant varieties that will accomodate machine planting and harvesting. Usually these are not the most flavorful types. Compare a juicy, vine-ripened beefsteak tomato to one of those woody supermarket tennis balls. Not the same thing at all!
Mass food production also means choosing the plant varieties that will best survive being trucked to market, sitting on a shelf for days or weeks, then being stored in a home kitchen until it is time to eat it. Some fruits and vegetables are picked unripe, then allowed to ripen in transit or by gassing them to bring out the color. Mmm, tasty, right?
Second, nutrition suffers when modern farming and food storage methods are used. Chemical fertilizers do not contain all of the trace minerals and other nutrients that plants need. Minerals like chromium are stripped from the soil over time – leading to nutritional deficits for those of us who eat them.
While chemical fertilizer companies continue to argue the point, there is a lot of evidence that these methods lead to reduced nutrition in the fruits and vegetables available in your local stores. Organic gardening includes adding compost to your soil.
Compost is nothing more than a fancy word for broken down plant matter (such as leaves and grass) and well-rotted manure. This is what nature uses to keep soil and plants healthy – and it is the best thing for your garden. As these natural substances return to the earth, they release the nutrients your plants need to stay healthy. Healthy plants resist disease better, and they also create healthier produce.
Finally, the third reason it makes sense to raise some of your own food. Self-reliance just makes sense in this economy. Food prices are rising – and the price hikes may be even more shocking as gas prices make it more and more expensive to run farm machinery and transport food to market. Many pesticides and chemical fertilizers are also petroleum based or require petroleum for processing. This means that conventional farming methods are going to cost more as well – and the price difference will be on our plates.
Having your own garden and learning how to make some foods yourself is a wonderful hedge against job loss, rising prices, foodborne-illness outbreaks and other hazards of our time. If you raise your own chickens, you’ll be able to control what they eat and help protect your family from salmonella. If you grow your own spinach, you’ll know to wash it well and you’ll use proper sanitation in growing it. That will help protect your family from illness as well.
If your family budget is tight, having your own backyard food resources can save you big money. All while knowing that your family is eating the healthiest foods around. Fresh, nutritious garden produce is a luxury at any time – but it is a real godsend if your family is suffering from a job loss or other financial hardship. You have no doubt heard that health experts recommend that we all eat at least 5 servinges of fresh fruit and veggies every day – but what if you can’t afford to spend that much money in the produce department? Imagine filling your family’s plates with juicy sliced tomatoes, crisp greenbeans, and fresh baby lettuce – all without having to worry about how much they cost.
Look around, sign up for my newsletter or subscribe to my RSS feed. Even if you have never gardened before, you’ll soon have the skills to cut your family’s food bill and help give them the healthiest food around. From starting your first garden to preserving the harvest, I’ve got the tips to help you along the way. I’ll also be covering backyard chickens, baking bread, making cheese, and related topics.