7 Reasons to Grow Your Own Food

Industrial farming is about profits over nutrition: industrial farms grow selective plant species for speed to maturity and size of product. These characteristics are not necessarily conducive to high nutritional value. By picking produce varieties that grow large and adding synthetic fertilizers to accelerate the process, mass-produced fruits and vegetables may offer less nutrient value.

This is not a new phenomenon. In 2004, Donald Davis, PhD, a former researcher with the Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas, Austin used United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) data to analyze 43 fruits and vegetables from 1950 to 1999. Davis and his team found many reductions in vitamins, minerals and protein. For example, broccoli had 130 mg of calcium in 1950. Fifty-four years later that number declined to 48 mg. Davis concluded that selective breeding and synthetic fertilizers adversely affected the fruits and vegetables’ ability to synthesize nutrients or absorb them from the soil.

How do you get those nutrients back in your food? Growing your own is a great place to start, and while it may seem intimidating at first, the benefits will most certainly balance out the fear and doubt of taking this project on. Here’s seven important reasons you should consider growing your own food.

1. You can select your plant varieties for maximum nutrient value

A simple guideline that can help you choose high nutrient value produce is to pick varieties with dark colors. Pick dark orange carrots and purple carrots or dark red and black tomatoes, for example. Also consider picking smaller produce varieties. Davis points out that plants only have a finite quantity of nutrients that they can pass along to the parts of the plant we eat. That means that nutrients can be more concentrated in smaller produce.

2. Grow organic for additional health benefits

There are numerous contradictory studies regarding the level of nutrients in organic versus conventional food crops. According to the Mayo Clinic, small to moderate increases in some nutrients have been found in organic produce, as well as a significant increase in some flavonoids, which are plant phytonutrients with antioxidant properties.

3. Grow organic to avoid harmful chemicals

Whether or not you subscribe to the higher nutritional value of organic fruits and vegetables, you can boost your health by growing your own food in a chemical-free garden. There are hundreds of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and other chemicals sprayed on conventional commercial food crops and their use is measured in hundreds of millions of pounds annually. The USDA has some shocking statistics on the quantity and type of chemicals used on our fruit in 2017. Check out their toxicity at the U.S. National Library of Medicine chemical database. Even organic produce in stores can be exposed to pesticide residue. It can also be conventional produce mislabeled as organic. Growing at home ensures your produce is as risk-free as possible.

4. Long-distance transportation equals low-nutrient food

The longer it takes your food to reach you, the greater the nutrient loss. As soon as fruits, vegetables and herbs are picked, they begin to decline in nutritional value. Shipping time and shelf time in the grocery store increase the nutritional loss. Not only does picking produce fresh from your garden increase the nutrition your body receives, it feels great to eat fresh, homegrown food.

5. Growing food costs less

In most cases, growing food is a great way to save money. If you grow from seed, rather than buying potted seedlings or starter plants, you will definitely save money on your herbs and vegetables. Fruit trees and berry bushes are also an excellent way to save money. From my own experience, a single tree produces many hundreds of delicious, giant apricots with virtually no work on my part, other than trying to keep up with the harvest.

6. Growing food can be great exercise

Whether you are growing in pots, raised beds, greenhouses or right in the ground, the process of preparing the growing medium, sowing the seeds, tending the plants and harvesting the bounty can provide steady and primarily gentle exercise throughout the growing season. You can make food growing as physically moderate or vigorous as you desire. As an added bonus, you get to spend time outdoors enjoying the fresh air.

7. It is valuable time together for families

A home-based food garden or orchard is a wonderful addition to a family home. Family members of all ages can participate in the wonder of growing food and gain an appreciation for where food comes from and how delicious it can taste. It is a great learning experience for children and one that can serve them well throughout their lives.

Related Stories:

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM shares her food growing, cooking, and other food self-sufficiency adventures at FoodHouseProject.com. She is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, founder of Scent-sational Wellness, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking. Follow her work.

49 comments

Hui S
Hui S6 days ago

thanks for sharing! our (enclosed) porch has become into a veritable greenhouse, thanks to the GMO-free fruits and veggies that we have been growing there since before the start of spring!

SEND
Leo C
Leo C6 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Mike R
Mike R7 days ago

Thanks

SEND
Hannah A
Hannah A7 days ago

Thank you

SEND
Anna R
Anna R9 days ago

thanks very much

SEND
Leo Custer
Leo C9 days ago

thank you for sharing!

SEND
Leo Custer
Leo C12 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

SEND
Angela K
Angela K13 days ago

thanks

SEND
Vanessa weeks
Vanessa weeks13 days ago

Until 3 years ago, I never gardened but 3 years of growing food (even on patio) brings me an indescrible kind of internal satisfaction & external connectedness with community of others doing the same.

SEND
Elaine W
Elaine W14 days ago

A avoid harmful chemicals.

SEND