1. SAVE MONEY
So you have read the stats. You’ve seen the documentaries. You’ve casually scanned the articles. Maybe you have begun to eat local and organic, and holy shit sticks, it’s expensive when compared to those readily available, pesticide laden, genetically modified alien fruits and veggies. Going local and organic can be a difficult process to commit to when so many of us are already strapped for cash just trying to house, feed and clothe ourselves. But there is a solution that is both cost effective and healthier. You can save literally thousands of dollars per year by growing your own food. The initial investment may seem deterring, but do your math and you will find quite quickly that your inputs will become returns rapidly, which will only increase over time as you get better at being a garden guru.
For example, a package of kale seeds costs roughly $3.00. Each package contains around 50 or more seeds. One $0.05 plant will produce at least two full store-sized bunches of organic kale. Those bunches run what? $3.99 each? $4.99 at Superfancyhealthyorganicrichfolk Food Store. So your “investment” provides a 16000% return. Imagine what will happen when you plant spinach and salad greens too.
2. BE GREEN
We know that global warming is a real thing (yes). We know that there are steps we can take to mitigate those crimes we commit upon our planet. However, those green guidelines can often seem staggeringly cumbersome, inconvenient, expensive and totally overwhelming. The planet is in so much trouble, what do I do? Buy carbon credits? What are those anyway (they’re a sham, if you’re interested)? Switch to bio-fuels? Take shorter showers? Ride a bike? Buy a Prius? I DON’T KNOW! Faaaack!
Cue jumbo sized Haagen Daas, snuggie and Jersey Shore reruns binge out.
To avoid such breakdowns just relax and hold the cheezies, there is a straightforward solution. Grow your own food and eat it. Simple. All the other stuff is great and certainly keep doing your best to turn off your lights, use less, waste less etc. but if you take the simple step toward growing and eating your own
food, you will already be waaaaaay ahead of the game. Switching to a plant based diet is literally the most environmentally impactful single thing you can do. Start growing your own fucking produce? Shit son. You're practically a revolutionary.
3. HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND, MORE PERSONAL TIME
Changing your eating habits can be a seriously daunting task. Sometimes it can be depressing and seemingly impossible to give up the processed foods our brains have learned to depend on to adopt a healthier diet. Especially when we are expected to buy nonperishable foods on a regular, sometimes daily basis and consume them immediately. Where to find that time and how to make that change? Having energy efficient food that is outside your door that tastes good will naturally encourage you to eat a more plant based diet. You won’t even think about it. It’s food. It’s right there! And you made it! You will inherently want to eat it because it's your precious creation.
A plant based diet is often the only medicine your body needs to operate at its optimal state. Your cravings will be less frequent because you will always have a healthy, delicious option available to you. Get a smoothie or juice morning program going and you're laughing. I'm telling you. Going outside early in the morning, plucking some kale, collards and cucumbers from the garden and then making a super fucking healthy juice is mind blowingly awesome. Now you have already started your day on the right foot and your body will naturally crave more of the good stuff. Also, less oppressively fluorescent supermarket trips means more time for activities of leisure.
4. CONSUME PESTICIDE AND GMO FREE FOOD
The latest US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information on US pesticide usage, from 2007, reported that over 1 billion tons of pesticides are used in the US every year. According to the EPA all pesticides on the market are evaluated at least every 15 years!!! to ensure that they meet current safety standards. So we get to be lab rats for all the toxic chemicals put into our food for 15 years before they are reevaluated? I could have been slowly poisoned for nearly half my life? Am I being poisoned right now? (yes).
EPA aside, what’s up with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) anyway? Call me crazy, but shouldn’t food and drugs be under separate umbrellas? Inherently, they don’t seem to be very congruent faculties for promotion and regulation. “Hi we’re the Guns and Babies Administration. The GBA for short. Don’t worry, we have all your best firearm and helpless offspring interests at hand.”
What about GMOs? Soybeans and soybean oil are in almost everything these days and 90% of the soy grown in the US is GMO. 88% (21.2 million hectares) of American corn is genetically modified. Corn is used in oils, flours, fillers, thickeners, flavourings, sweeteners, livestock feed, and countless other applications. It’s nearly impossible to avoid genetically modified soy and corn. Unless you grow you own (yes, it’s easy) or you are so satiated by all the goodness in your backyard bounty that you don’t need some weird packaged fast food snack with hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, tetrahydroglycloximate or citrixilated salictathamine (not real words) to curb your appetite.
Also, grow your own food if you love honey. You don’t necessarily have to keep bees, but supporting GMOs and pesticide loaded foods means you support mass bee murder and therefore, you hate honey. But there’s always high fructose corn syrup. mmm...Barf.
5. FRESH IS THE BEST ENERGY
An apple today is much more nutrient dense than the same apple tomorrow. Fruits and vegetables have a set amount of nutrients when harvested and begin to lose them the minute they are cut off from their food source. Once harvested, they begin to consume their own nutrients in order to stay alive. Think about how much gets lost after days on a truck. After a long journey, that apple is then shined and polished with a waxy sheen to make it and its friends look more appealing when really, they’re just glitsy shells of their former better selves. Most of the time, when you buy produce at the supermarket, you are being sold an empty, inferior product in a pretty package. Forget that shit. Don't be fooled by the big baddies of corporate food. Sparkly homogenous apples are NOT better than regular old farm apples. It's the opposite. Those fat, greasy guys in high tower offices have hired teams to convince you otherwise and they're robbing you of the nutrients you deserve. If you're going to make that hard decision to choose a salad over macaroni and cheese, you should be rewarded with the health benefits you would expect from ingesting a bowl of vegetables.
6. FREE THERAPY
Gardening shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a happy place you can go to for peace, tranquility and inspiration! Anyone who has grown an heirloom tomato or a big, juicy carrot from seed knows well the feeling of elation when you see and taste something beautiful that you created from practically nothing. Your garden becomes a playground of accomplishments and the endorphins begin firing off. When you harvest your basil, you’ll find that you’re drawn to check on all your other herb babies. Somehow you passively end up spending quality and rewarding time outside and get your vitamin D dose for the day! Time for a nap in the sun.
Just being outside in your neighbourhood can offer plenty of opportunities to get to know your neighbours and your community. Whether it’s a garden in your back yard, front lawn (now garden), on your balcony or in your condo community garden box, you will end up meeting all sorts of characters and striking up conversations you may never have had otherwise. Swap gardening information, find a great babysitter, meet a web developer that would love to help build your small business website, chat with a carpenter who specializes in custom cabinetry and would trade some labour for tomatoes. Who knows?! There are countless interesting characters out there who are eager to participate in a reciprocal community.
Speaking of reciprocity, there is a good chance that you will find at some point that you have more produce than you could ever get through. What to do with all that excess? Why, give it away of course. Odds are your surplus of cherry tomatoes is great for your neighbour who didn't get many tomatoes this season but he has garlic coming out of his ears. Why yes, you would gladly take some of that garlic off of his hands in exchange for your leftover tomatoes.
The more people in your neighbourhood or apartment building that have food gardens, the more opportunity to share the excess and Bippity Boppity Boo! - not only do you have a thriving community, you also just saved money, time, the planet and you feel like champion. Woop!