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Why I Grow My Own Food

Why do you grow your own food? This was a question I posed to workshop participants this winter. I was not at all surprised to hear the wide variety of enthusiastic answers. Take a deeper dive into the benefits of growing your own food with this blog post inspired by the Garden Planning Workshop participants. Thank you all for reminding me why I Grow My Own.

I grow my own food because I love being a gardener. Gardening is a fabulous way to enjoy being outdoors, connecting with the rhythms of nature, reminding me that I am part of nature and that this connection is vital to my happiness and sense of calm, belonging, and wellbeing.

I grow my own food because I love to feed myself and my family. Harvesting the fruits of my own labours from my own backyard fills me with satisfaction and joy.  I feel inextricably connected to the animals and other living creatures in my backyard because they are doing the same thing I am – looking for fresh, delicious, nutritious food for themselves and their families. That is a very happy thought.

I grow my own food because the food I grow tastes so much better than anything I can buy at the grocery store. It’s also much more nutritious because it’s just been harvested so it’s as fresh as can be.

I grow my own food because it helps me save on food costs and food waste. I like looking in my garden for something to eat rather than my fridge. I only need to harvest what I need to eat for a given meal. I don’t have to buy portions greater than I need so I don’t end up tossing bunches of rotting lettuce, cilantro or dill in the green bin. By harvesting only what I need, I leave the plants in the ground to continue growing to do what they do best: harness the sun’s energy and  convert it to carbohydrates that feed the organisms in the soil that feed the plants that feed us. And round and round it goes.

I grow my own food because, when I buy produce from the grocery store, I don’t know where it’s coming from, who grew it and how they grew it. What chemicals did they use? Is it contaminated with E.coli or salmonella? How long ago was it harvested? How long did it spend on a truck getting to the store? Were the farm workers treated respectfully and paid a living wage?

I grow my own food because eating hyper-locally is easier on the environment. I don’t have to burn fuel driving to the store. There is no packaging to throw away or recycle and I don’t have to wonder if my municipal recycling system is actually recycling or taking my waste to a landfill.

I grow my own food because it connects me with my community. I love to garden with friends and neighbours, share my harvest, and eat together. I love the looks of pure pleasure on my neighbour’s faces when they taste food from the garden. Their surprise and joy never gets old.

I grow my own food because I love teaching what I have learned to the next generation of growers. I see how there is an innate curiosity in children when they interact with plants. They soak up knowledge and quickly understand how to care for plants, that they may need a drink of water, protection from the cold, a sunny windowsill, a bit more space to flourish. There is great comfort in knowing that the next generation will have the knowledge to feed themselves and that perhaps they won’t be so dependent on grocery stores. It’s important for them to know where their food comes from. It is fascinating and encouraging to watch them harvest a sweet fruit or crunchy vegetable and devour it right there in the garden, unlike a store-bought veggie that they often reject.

Growing their own food provides children with the opportunity to get outside and get off their screens. It opens their world to what is happening in the here and now. The garden is a more peaceful, less stressful place to be than on social media. It connects them to their food and when they grow it themselves they are personally invested in what they eat.

I grow my own food to remind myself of the miracle that Mother Earth provides everything we need. Plants have so much to teach us. I grow my own food because no matter how much experience I have, there is still so much more to learn, and I love that.

I grow my own food because it helps heal the ailing planet and soothes my worried soul knowing that this seemingly small act actually does make a difference. I see how others can be influenced by my actions, that they may start to grow their own food, and soon a whole neighbourhood is growing their own food. More gardens and gardeners on our planet will lead to more healthy ecosystems, healthier people who will rely less on medicines and doctor’s visits and more on their gardens and themselves. I grow my own food because I enjoy the increased independence, confidence, and security it brings me.

I grow my own food because plants provide healing properties that can prevent disease from happening in the first place. Gardening is a great physical activity. It  keeps me fit, limber and energized. My garden is my gym, no membership required. And if I’m growing food at work, which I do, I have a endless opportunity to leave my desk and computer, to stretch my legs and aching back, and harvest some lunch that I can share with my colleagues.

I grow my own food because it surrounds me in beauty and that makes my heart soar. It turns on my creative self, my artist that otherwise doesn’t get enough time to play. I love how that beauty attracts others – both humans and non-human creatures and proves that abundance is everywhere. It takes me out of a mindset of scarcity and transports me to a mindset of growth.

Gardening is calming and healing. It reminds me that everything is connected and little-old-me is part of something vast and wonderful and beautiful, something that functions elegantly with simultaneous simplicity and complexity. I grow my own food because it sparks in me the true meaning of awe.

I grow my own food because it makes me happy and brings so much joy to others.

Why do you grow your own food?

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