Spring can fill us full of ambition—so many fertile ideas and projects to pursue during the longer, warmer days—it's a wonder we get any of them done. But don't let gardening slip off your list. Even if you're a first time food grower, push past the trepidation, and if anything, make food gardening the only project you pursue in full force this season. Why? Well for starters, it's one of the single greatest things you can do for your health, your piece of mind and your bank account.
Your health: It's not news that eating a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables contributes to maintaining a healthy body weight, fighting off major illnesses from the common cold and flu to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. And, fresh, whole fruits and vegetables give us energy with their high fiber content that helps us stay full longer. Research shows that seniors over age 70 who ate a healthy diet had fewer health problems and lived longer than those who ate less healthy foods. When we're including fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal, that also means less room to fill up on the stuff we know we shouldn't be eating anyway.
Save money: You'd be surprised just how much food you can actually grow in a very small area. Whether you've got a yard, a garden bed, or pots full of yummy goodness sprouting up, the more you're eating out of your own garden, the more money you're saving on store-bought food that's likely come a long way from the soil it pushed up through, anyway. And if you end up growing more than you can eat while it's fresh, preserving your garden yummies will last you through several seasons as a reminder to plant your garden again next spring! Think of making homemade tomato sauce, fruit preserves, dried fruit and leathers, fermented cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, and dried herbs and peppers. They're an investment that will save you year-round!
Mindfulness: Whether we're conscious of it or not, when we dig our fingers into soil, we're connecting with millions of microbes and life forms that permeate out planet's crust. We need them just as much as they need us, and this connection is an important reminder of just how co-dependent we all really are on this planet. That awareness can infuse our daily lives with pause, gratitude and a sense of wonder and joy that can alter our relationships, priorities and perspectives.
Sustainability: When we shop at our local supermarket or even farmers market, the food had to get there somehow. Even the most sustainable options are dependent on fossil fuels to make it to market. Stepping out into your own garden helps eliminate the transport costs and dependency on oil. You also ditch the packaging, shopping bags and boxes items were transported in as well, helping to reduce waste and toxic substances ending up in our landfills and waterways.
Image by gregor_y
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