Thursday, April 26, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Why Everybody Should Grow Food

  1. It's good exercise - you may not feel happy at the idea of taking more exercise but research overwhelmingly shows that it boosts your mood and makes you happier.

  2. It gets you out in the sunshine - this also may make you happier if you are one of the approximately 1 in 10 who suffers from SAD.

  3. You get a sense of satisfaction from seeing a result of your effort.

  4. You will feel more motivated to eat fruit and vegetables when you have grown them yourself.

  5. Food will be fresher and taste better when you have grown it yourself.

  6. You will cut your food miles down to food yards, saving all the aviation fuel used to transport produce and reducing the damage to the planet.

  7. Many aspects of gardening seem miraculous when you are actually involved in them - you may know intellectually that seeds grow into plants, and waste decomposes into compost, but when you actually do it, it seems wondrous.

  8. It gives you something to look forward to. In the winter you look forward to spring when you can plant things. in spring you look forward to summer when they will grow. In summer you look forward to autumn and the harvest. In autumn you look forward to winter, a rest from your labours and a realistic prospect of getting the better of the damn weeds.

  9. You gain a much better understanding of what food is, where it comes from and what goes into it, and just how precious it is.

  10. You also gain insight into all the many people, past and present, whose lives have revolved around producing food. So many of the stories in the Bible, so many nursery rhymes and children's stories, as well as adult novels and poetry and many other cultural works, describe the process of farming and the consequences of failure. The news often carries stories of drought or floods or vanishing bees causing crop failures. We are cut off from understanding them fully by our modern way of life, but simply by growing a few vegetables we can understand rather better.


Anonymous said...

I agree! I actually got my lazy arse outside last night* and set to on the raised beds - pulled everything out and dug over the soil (and hoofed as many slugs, snails and leatherjackets as I could find onto the shed roof for the birds). Let’s look at the list:
1) Good exercise: Can’t argue here. I feel a lot better today for that fresh air and my shoulders feel sore but less stiff
2) SAD: I don’t suffer from SAD, but I do love getting out on summer evenings so tick that one too.
3) Satisfaction: I even peeked out of the back window this morning just to savour how much nice the garden looks. Ahhhhhh.
4) Eating it: Yup, although not mush to show yet, I was digging away and mentally peeling and cooking them… mmmmm!
5) Taste: I’ll hold on this one – I’ve never tasted the difference between most home grown / organic / mass-produced veg yet. But the lack of chemicals is a big plus for me here instead.
6) Food miles: Oh yes. Spuds will be a 20 foot round trip and the rest will be a 100 foot round trip. All on shanks’ pony.
7) Magic: It sure is. I find it beautiful to watch.
8) Looking forward: Very true. Although I find Second Life helped me get through this winter :-D
9) Knowledge: Yup. I’m a voracious learning so this a perfect hobby for me.
10) Not sure about that, but I do get to the nearly 100 year lady at the back of my house who has known not only me from birth but also my mum! She knew my mum’s parents as I live in what was my gran’s house. She’s nearly the last in a long line of names I remember from my childhood, very near all of whom have died now :(

Phew! There you go – Head Burro and his 10 reasons for you :)

Head Burro

* Second Life was offline all evening :)

Melanie Rimmer said...

I just want to point out that in point 10, when I say "adult novels", obviously I don't mean "adult novels" but simply "novels for adults, as opposed to children's novels like Harry Potter". I don't expect there's much vegetable gardening in the other sort.

Anonymous said...

And I'd like to point out that the many typos, spelling mistakes and missing words in (or otherwise) my comment above were due to me rushing. Sorry. :)

Anonymous said...

All good points, but I'd add two more.

Small children will happily eat mounds of vegetables foraged from the garden - ours have just been munching on fresh carrots, purple sprouting broccoli, lettuce thinnings, and cabbage and kale leaves. (Just make sure you plant enough veg to cope with demand.)

And a personal one - gardening is an excellent and readily accepted excuse for digging. I love digging and when people find you doing digging jobs that would normally involve a mechanical digger or a tractor, they think you're nuts. But digging a vegetable patch? That's fine. :)

Anonymous said...

Mel, I seem to recall Lady Chatterley's Lover involved gardening at some point! Oh, and Hemingway wrote Garden of Eden which did have garden in the title.

Not forgetting The Perfumed Garden of Sheikh Nefzaoui.

There you go, plenty of gardening to be found in adult novels, I mean novels for adults...

Anonymous said...

I love the Ask Oxford site. I don't know what all the fuss is about. We all know that Earthy means resembling or suggestive of soil, Rude means roughly done or made and Crude means rudimentary or makeshift. All of these terms are commonplace for self-sufficient types. However, one needs to be carful, when a Seed can be interpreted as a man's semen, an innocent Hump can suggest sexual intercourse and fruitiness can be quite suggestive. I love the English Language.

Almost Vegetarian said...

All those reasons are marvellous. But, for those in apartments, it is just not reasonable. So I grow herbs on the windowsill. And shop at farmer's markets. And when we do move, I hope it will be to a place with, at the very least, a balcony. Because even a garden in a pot is better than no garden at all!


Melanie Rimmer said...

You're right, Almost Vegetarian. Windowsill plots are great for apartment dwellers. You don't have to confine yourself to herbs though. I once grew cherry tomatoes on the windowsill of a second-floor flat. And I've grown strawberries in a hanging basket (the yields were disappointing but the technique could probably be refined, and interplanted with trailing alyssum they looked extraordinarily pretty).

If you're really keen you could ask your local council about an allotment. I've also heard of apartment-dwellers who made arrangements with an elderly neighbour to cultivate their neglected garden as a veg plot in a produce-sharing arrangement.

Vashti said...

I have an apartment with a balcony ... unfortunately (especially for the tomatoes I tried to grow last year) I also have a balcony with a pigeon infestation. Perhaps I'm picky, but I can't quite bring myself to eat anything that's got white patches and small grey feathers adhering to it.

This year I'm starting smaller and trying to rescue a supermarket basil on my cat-free windowsills. So far, I have a dozen or so pots (not counting the ones I've given away), still not dead...

-R said...

My family has three big reasons we garden:
1)We believe it's a commandment from Heavenly Father.

2)Self-sufficiency and tightwaddery--you can save a lot of money on nutrition if you grow it yourself.

3)It's good for the soul.

Unknown said...

Don't forget sticking it to the supermarkets!

Dawn said...

Too bad I'm in a north facing, no direct sunlight apartment!!

Yellow said...

Dawn, you could try mushrooms I suppose :)

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with all your reasons, and I've got a number 11: you become far more observant about the natural world. You don't just say "It rained today", instead, you consider whether the rain would have soaked in or run off and is there more or less than this time last year? Spring doesn't start for you on 1 September (or N. Hemisphere equivalent), but when it's actually warm enough to plant. You notice the behaviour and life stages of insects, worms, slugs, snails and other invertebrates that visit your garden. You know your local birds and their habits, as well as the other native / wild / feral animals. Becoming more observant is important, I think.

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