While most people make the connection between industrial farming and climate change, they fail to connect it to gardening. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you are new to gardening, you can search for “landscape companies near me” and hire professionals to build raised garden beds and other landscape features for you. Let’s check out how growing your own food in your own garden can help the environment and boost our health:
- Reduced carbon emissions – Industrial farming uses a lot of energy to grow food. Most of that energy comes from fossil fuels used in large farming equipment. Apart from that, there’s also the energy cost of transportation. It is estimated that your food travels an average distance of 1500 miles from the farm to the local grocer before it reaches you. Most of that energy comes from fossil fuels burnt by trucks. For food that travels across the sea, the distance and energy use is much higher.
It is estimated that humanity on average burns around 10 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy to get one kilocalorie of energy as food. This is a very grim number since apart from pollution and respiratory issues due to burning fossil fuel, it also quickens climate change. Apart from that, there’s also the handling of excess waste material from burning fossil fuel.
Growing your own food allows you to cut down on that travel cost and the resultant emissions by a certain amount. It’s impossible to grow all the food you need. However, gardening at your home allows you to bring some change in the system and reduce carbon emissions in your own way.
- Reduces fertilizer and pesticide use – As mentioned above, industrial farming is a major cause of climate change. Apart from that, there’s the extensive use of pesticides and fertilizers. The EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) also routinely approves many pesticides that aren’t extensively researched and linked to cancer and other diseases. Their estimates say that around 90 percent of fungicides, 60 percent of herbicides, and 30 percent of insecticides currently in use are carcinogenic.
Among the 5.2 billion pounds of pesticides used globally, around 1 billion pounds or 22 percent is used in the US every year. Agriculture alone accounts for 80 percent of pesticides used in the US. Even if they are not carcinogenic, all those synthetic chemicals going into your food can’t be healthy. If everyone grows their own food organically, these terrifying numbers can be reduced significantly.
- No monocultures – Monocropping is a great concern in modern times. Companies research and alter the genetics of crops to grow them as efficiently as possible. These companies are big and have global dominance. When most farmers grow their crops, essentially copies of the same plant are grown everywhere with little to no genetic variation. They rely heavily on pesticide and herbicide use and due to reduced biodiversity, they are also prone to infection and its fast spread.
This endangers crops, makes them reliant on synthetic chemicals, and is more toxic. When you grow your own food organically you can avoid that by a certain amount. You grow your own crops, save the seeds, use all the local pollinators and use them to grow the next batch. This also encourages biodiversity and reduces the risk of food insecurity.
- You’re connected with nature – When you grow your own food you interact with the earth and a lot of greenery. You also metaphorically and literally enjoy the fruits of your labor. Growing your own veggie garden gets you close to nature, and you directly experience the elements of nature.
While the growing process is calming and therapeutic, the harvesting season brings you a lot of joy and satisfaction. Even if your pumpkin looks crooked and is much smaller than those in the supermarket, eating it gives a unique sense of satisfaction.
- More learning opportunities – When you grow your own garden, you have nature’s laboratory in your backyard. You spend hours with your family growing and caring for the plants, soil, and more. It’s an educational process where you learn from your experience and teach the kids how to grow their own food.
After you grow some easy crops, you would like to experiment and grow newer things and taste more exotic flavors from your garden. You’ll make a lot of mistakes, fail a few times and re-start from scratch. However, all that experience will make you grow as a gardener and as a person. You’ll also be happier when you take crops directly from your garden to the table and watch your family eating home-grown produce.
- Better nutrition – In commercial agriculture food needs to look a certain way to last long distances of travel and be attractive so that it can sell in the stores. However, pretty food doesn’t necessarily have better nutrition. Healthier and nutrient-rich food comes from plants that are grown on soil with rich microbial activity without synthetic chemicals.
When you grow food in your own garden you can control all those factors and grow nutrient-dense food that would be much better than anything you buy in the store.
- It tastes better – This one doesn’t need any proof since most people have experienced it. If you’ve ever consumed organically grown fresh produce you know it tastes much better than regular produce. When you grow your own food organically and take the time to rotate crops and maintain the microbial health and fertility of your soil, your food comes out with a better nutritional profile and also tastes better. Pay attention to growing leafy greens in the winter, melons, and tomatoes in the summer, and allow them to mature properly before harvesting.
Growing your own food has more benefits than you may have realized. It helps towards a greener future, reduces carbon emissions, and is also good for your health in many ways. If you’re new to gardening, you can get help from professionals by searching for “landscape companies near me”.