The popularity of organic food has been on the rise in recent years, especially since people are more aware of what they eat and want to improve their diet. The term “organic” refers to the farming process that doesn’t use artificial boosters, like GMOs and harmful chemicals. This is also a more eco-friendly and sustainable way of growing food that can contribute to preserving the planet’s environment.
While buying organic products may be a simple solution for a healthier lifestyle, you can do even better by having a garden. Vegetables, fruits, and herbs are the most commonly grown organic produce in the average household. Just check out these amazing reasons to grow your own organic food that will probably inspire you to buy seeds and gardening tools tomorrow.
1. Products from your garden will taste better
Veggies and fruits taste better from your garden because you grew them in a way they would grow in nature. Homegrown products mature in an environment that gives them sufficient space to develop with full taste and ripeness. Once you pick them, eat them immediately or store them in reusable mesh bags that will keep them fresh for longer.
Commercial producers use various products to have high yields because their goal is to make as much profit as possible. They pick fruits and vegetables while they’re still green and have them ripen during transport which can affect their taste and texture.
2. You will have fresh food on your table
If you have a great yield, you will eat fresh produce every day and come up with creative ways to use them up. Also, picking ripe products makes room for another batch to grow and mature since some plants can give fruit several times a year.
Eating such fresh products brings a lot more vitamins and minerals into your life, which is not the case with store-bought varieties. The longer fruits and vegetables stay on the shelves the more their nutritional value may decline.
3. Your garden can make the air cleaner
Plants take in carbon dioxide and through a process called photosynthesis, they turn it into oxygen. Your contribution to clean air doesn’t end there. Growing your own food means you won’t make as many trips to the store, thus emitting fewer pollutants into the air.
If you decide to grow trees and shrubs, like chestnuts and berries, you may even lower the use of cooling devices in the summer. Plants can naturally create shade and lower temperatures, so you won’t send harmful vapors from your AC in the air as much. This can contribute to reducing the greenhouse effect and help fight global warming.
4. You will throw away less food
Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally which is one-third of food used for human consumption. If you grow the amount you need, you will hardly throw away anything. But if you do, you can put it in the compost bin and use it to fertilize new crops.
Not to mention that you are less likely to throw away vegetables and fruits you labored on than store-bought products. Moreover, you control what to grow so you can decide how much you need of each variety to avoid wasting the food. The safest way to minimize this type of waste is to grow plants that do well in your climate and are not too demanding, like lettuce and peppers.
5. Organic gardening can spend less water
You can’t grow your own organic food without water. What you can do is manage your water consumption and not spend more than necessary. One of the ways to do this is by installing an irrigation system that is automatic and with a timer.
Another way is to let nature help you out by collecting rainwater. Combine as many barrels as you can and use a pump to release water into a hose for easier irrigation. Rainwater is softer and has nutrients that plants love, so you would improve the care for your garden and save the environment.
6. It’s a great way to stay healthy
Gardening is considered a moderate physical activity that is good for the body and mind. Working with garden tools can be similar to exercising with low-weight dumbbells for the upper body muscles and bones.
Spending time outside under the sun will stimulate the production of vitamin D that is crucial for your well-being. Let’s not forget, since organic food is not full of pesticides, you and your family will eat more healthily.
7. Organic food is less contaminated
Foodborne diseases are recorded each year in the world — with 600 million cases of patients and 420,000 deaths. The most common outbreaks are Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli which can appear in fruits and veggies you buy at the store, like packed salad. This is not something to worry about when you grow your own organic food.
Food security is now more important than ever when humans are exposed to stress, new diseases, and pollutions. Constant access to uncontaminated food can provide healthy meals every day, even during the off-season with freezing, canning, pickling, and drying harvested products.
8. It can lead to the reuse of waste
Everyone makes waste, but what they do with it makes all the difference. When you become a gardener, you can put some of the waste to good use. Teabags, used coffee grounds, eggshells, and paper are some of the things you can put in your compost instead of a trashcan.
Even rubbish from tending to your backyards, like grass clippings, twigs, branches, and leaves are a great addition to the compost. Once it’s done, use it to fertilize the soil before the spring and later to feed your veggies, fruits, and herbs. Some waste, like citrus peel and meat, is not good composting material and can harm the plants, so don’t put every kitchen scrap into your compost mix.
9. You won’t have to use toxic pesticides
If you grow your own food, you will fewer chemicals because you won’t use toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers for your crops. The plants absorb them during growth and they remain in the leaves, fruits, and stem to some extent after the harvest. This means that you and your family can be exposed to those poisons as well through food.
These substances are known to cause serious health conditions, such are cancer, nerve damage, and genetic mutations. By not using these poisonous additives, you also won’t contaminate the soil and underground waters that may enter the public water supply.
10. An organic garden will attract pollinators
Vegetables and fruits wouldn’t exist without the pollinators. Butterflies, birds, beetles, and most importantly the bees are responsible for stable ecosystems all over the world. According to research from the Lund University in Sweden, organic gardens can help prevent the decline of pollinators primarily because they don’t use insecticides.
Certain crops will need pollinators to give fruit, like cucumbers, eggplant, and pumpkins. To invite them to come, create shelter, plant wildflowers, and grow herbs, but also leave them mushy bananas, rotting fruit, and brown sugar for food.
The bottom line
Besides these amazing reasons to grow your own organic food, you also need an intention to take control of your health as the main drive. You may not be able to produce everything you eat, but even a modest amount can bring beneficial ingredients to your plate.