On many bucket lists, people are putting down “plant a tree”, as something to do before they die. There are countless organizations and initiatives in planting trees, and even a National Tree Day. But how many people are looking to start their own gardens? I’ve heard them say “It’s too much work”, “it’s too hard” and “I don’t need it”. All seemingly valid reasons, but in reality they are not. Growing your own food should be a priority for you and your family. The same way going to the grocery store is. If you do it well enough, heck, you won’t need a grocery store.
1. Easy To Start
The first misconception about organic gardening is that it’s very hard to start. Can you fill a pot with soil, put seeds and water it? Well that’s a great start! But I can promise you, once you see your (sometimes literal) fruits of labor, you’ll fall in love with it. You’ll look for something that you can improve and ways to make it bigger. If you can grow tomatoes, why can’t you grow kale? You don’t need any fancy and expensive equipment. You have more than enough stuff at your house to start a garden. You can even use plastic water bottles to start a garden. The possibilities are endless, and it’s certainly not difficult to start.
2. Healthy and Enjoyable
Let me throw this out there, nothing worth having comes easy. As easy as it is to start a garden, it will require some effort on your part. But just think how much time you spend mowing your lawn or going grocery shopping. Not to mention the doctor visits and medication, that comes from leading a non-healthy lifestyle, while eating unhealthy food. However, the time that you put in your garden won’t be hard manual labor. It will be quality time that you will enjoy spending. You will be able to spend more time outdoors, whether in your apartment’s balcony or your back yard. Did you know that organic gardening can relieve stress? Did you know that when little kids play in the dirt and mud, it actually strengthens their immune systems? There are a ton of health benefits to gardening. But most of all, it’s enjoyable.
3. Knowledge is Priceless
Many people think that farming is an outdated practice. But as we’re seeing the affects of processed foods take it’s toll on the people, many people are returning back to the natural way of feeding themselves. Through products that have been grown naturally. It’s essential to know how to grow and find your own food. The things that you will learn while managing your own garden can be applied in many walks of life. Responsibility, time management, hard work, dedication, creativity and many more valuable traits can be learned from organic farming.
4. Preparation for The Unexpected
This brings us to our next point. Our world is becoming very dependent on factories, grocery stories and an extremely small amount of farmers. Food often travels over 1000 miles before getting to your local supermarket. The whole system is backwards. What should be our last resort is now our first (and sometimes only) option. How many things that disrupt this already fragile system? Think about natural disasters, economic problems, contamination, etc. Even with a simple loss of electricity many people will be left with no access to food. If something were to happen where you were not able to access food for 3-4 weeks, how much food would you have to feed yourself? How about your whole family? Chances are, you are not prepared. It’s important to be able to have access to fresh food on demand and not rely on food being shipped from China or farms thousands of miles away. Take a look at your fridge, and your cabinets, how much of the food has been bought? 80%? 90%? 100%? If all your food is from your grocery store, each day you are literally betting your life on the premise that food will be grown, then successfully imported from miles and miles away, and that the dollars (paper) will be able to buy you more food the next day. If you experienced any kind of serious storm, major electricity shortage, you know, that this system does not work very well in times of need.
5. Become Self-Sufficient and Independent
If you grow your own garden and you practice organic farming, you can call yourself independent. You are not relying on anyone. No amount of money in the world will save you when you need food and there is none to be bought at the grocery stores. Food and water shortages are a serious problem. Not only that, thanks to genetically modified foods, it’s becoming extremely difficult to know whether what you are eating is essentially dangerous and damaging to your health. Take control of what you put in your mouth and what you feed your family. Farming and gardening has been around for thousands of years and it will never go away.
6. Live in a Greener World
The more trees we plant, the more gardens we start, our world will become a greener place. Literally and figuratively. Think about it. If we are self-sufficient, we no longer need these food processing factories, super market buildings, etc. We don’t need trucks and planes travelling for thousands of miles delivering the food. Prices of fresh food would go way down, as food would be readily available at your own garden, your neighbor’s or at your local farm. It would be more accessible to everyone. More land would be dedicated to growing food, instead of chopping down trees and poisoning the soil with chemicals. Just as Central Park gives life to New York City, more gardens would do the same for your community, town, city, etc.
7. Eat and Live Healthier
When you are able to control how you grow your food, you can know for sure that it’s safe to eat. Massive farms owned by giants like Monsanto, that pollute the world’s supply with GMOs and chemical run-offs, would become extinct. There would be no need for them. When you have your own garden, you can be sure that your food contains no chemicals and that it’s been grown with care. Naturally, since there is more fresh food available at your house, you will eat healthier. Whether you are looking to stay in shape or get in shape, organic gardening may help you reach your goals.
8. Something You Can Be Proud Of
When you build something from start to finish, it’s something extraordinary. As you’ve taken many little parts, and you’ve made it into something bigger. Something that works. But growing your own garden is more than that. You are growing something from little seeds into food that can feed your family. You can literally watch life happen before your eyes. Knowing that you grew that Apple tree or those tomatoes, is an amazing feeling.
9. Involve Your Kids and Family
Organic gardening is something fun that you can do with your kids or family. Instead of sitting around at home and finding ways to involve everyone, try growing something together. Kids will love playing with the dirt, building something and eating the stuff that grows. It’s a wonderful experience and it will provide them with invaluable knowledge for the future.
10. Your Lawn is Useless
Hate to break it to you, but as pretty as your green grass is – it’s useless. People, especially in the United States, spend millions of dollars each year for maintaining their lawns. Lawns that produce what? Nothing. We waste valuable non-renewable, non-sustainable resources into making products for lawn care and for running the lawn mowers. How much gas and money have you spent on keeping your grass short and green? The same time and money could have been spent into turning your lawn into something that can produce fruits and vegetables. Yes, it may look strange at first, but it’s not long before people start catching on. Turn your useless lawn into something spectacular.
11. No Space, No Problem
But I am living in a cramped apartment in the middle of New York City! I can’t do it! Yes, you can. Organic gardening doesn’t require a lot of space. You can grow it indoors, outdoors, horizontally and even vertically. You can grow it with very limited sunlight. Don’t think you need to buy an acre of land to start a garden. You can adjust it to your needs and your means.
12. Live in Abundance
Finally, to have your own organic garden is to live in abundance. A very small garden can easily feed your immediate family, but more often than not, you will find yourself with a surplus. A surplus of food that you can store. A surplus of food that you can share. There are communities all over the world that are switching from lawns to gardens. Growing food which they then share with their neighbors and even strangers. Having your own garden is priceless, and it’s certainly not too late to start. The time is now.
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Check out these awesome communities as well:
Food is Free Project – teaching communities to share and grow food together: http://foodisfreeproject.org/
Grow Food not Lawns – utilizing and transforming your lawns into gardens: https://www.facebook.com/GrowFoodNotLawns
Organics.org – Our growing Organics community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrganicsCommunity