Fresh veggies and fruits are loaded with flavor and nutrients.
Most of today’s produce you see at your local grocer has been flown in from around the world—typically from California, Chile and Holland. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels is 1,500 miles in a week long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink and produce loses vitality1.
Today’s mass production farm system entails the strategic selection of fruits and vegetables based on their ability to ripen at the same time; the likelihood that they will survive packing and shipping, and the length of their shelf life. Naturally, only a handful of fruits and vegetables meet all of the criteria so the variety of available fruits and vegetables is limited.
Surprisingly, food that is frozen or canned soon after harvest is actually more nutritious than some “fresh” produce that arrives at your local grocer after a week-long commute. Food grown locally—whether in your backyard or nearby community farm, was picked within the last 24 hours. Essentially, the shorter farm-to-table duration, the greater the amount of nutrients and flavor.
Whether organic or not, the gardener maintains control.
One of the best aspects of growing your own garden is owning the method—will you garden organically and/or in an environmentally-friendly way? A self-managed garden enables you to choose the type of fertilizer, seeds, soil, etc. to ensure produce is safe for your entire family.
Practically all of the non-organic fruits and vegetables you see at your local grocer are GMOs meaning that they have been genetically modified or bioengineered. Contrary to popular belief, GMOs are unhealthy2. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients since there is no shortage of evidence that numerous health problems increased significantly after GMOs were introduced in 1996. If you are opposed to eating unsafe or bioengineered food, growing your own produce means you can rest assured that it was grown the way nature intended.
Reduce your environmental footprint.
Growing your own garden enables you to rotate crops to minimize soil erosion and maximize nutrients and the soil’s fertility. You can also grow cover crops which capture carbon emissions and help control global warming. Lastly, you’ll conserve resources and protect the environment because processing and shipping food from long distances depletes tremendous amounts of fossil fuels and produces unnecessary pollution.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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