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The Cardinal Press is a lifestyle blog about living beautifully and creatively, every day.

5 Reasons to Grow Your Own Food

5 Reasons to Grow Your Own Food

This is a guest post by Stella Ryne.

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Proponents of a healthy diet know that the best foods we can eat for our bodies and minds are the ones we grow ourselves. A pepper straight from the garden can easily be the best one you’ve had in a long time! And it won’t just taste perfect; it will give you more valuable nutrients than the ones you buy in a store. Grocery store goods are likely to have travelled hundreds of kilometres before they reached the shelves. The process of packing, shipping, and distributing can affect the flavour and the nutrients. So while those shelf-veggies look appealing, they’re not the best choice. The way to ensure you only get the best of nature is to start your own garden.

People often think that you need to live out in the country to grow your veggies, but the truth is even some space on your balcony will do. Here are five great benefits to growing your own food.

It’s Healthy

This is likely the first thing many will think of when it comes to growing your own food: it’s very healthy. When you’re only growing for yourself and your family, you don’t have the goal of making money. That means you probably won’t try to get enormous amounts of produce in a short while, and will let nature do its own thing. Unlike commercial production, you won’t need to use massive fertilization, irrigation, and other methods that may eventually reduce quality. Furthermore, you don’t need to use the pesticides common to commercial producers. When you grow your food, you decide what goes in it. You can opt for a totally organic approach, or modify your choice of fertilizers.

If you want chemical free, healthy veggies, opt for growing celery, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, summer squash, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, spinach, and other greens.

It Helps Your Mental Health

It has been known that gardening and taking care of plants is a great stress reliever. Many gardeners will tell you about the peace they feel when they run their fingers through the dirt. Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to the unique stress-relieving feature of growing food. There’s cognitive stimulation, because you’ll need to apply new solutions to existing problems; the satisfaction of work itself; and finally, you are spending time with plants and getting closer to nature. For a lively, beautiful, and mood-boosting garden, you can add colourful pot plants that won’t take a lot of space.

It Requires Moving

You need to move in order to be a successful gardener, be it through digging, raking, or hoeing. These activities require that you stretch, push, pull, and lift. It means that you’re exercising, all without going to the gym! Doing your daily gardening can help you meet your daily exercise goals, as it’s regarded as moderate cardiovascular exercise. It’s believed that tending to your vegetables can burn 150 to 300 calories in 30 to 45 minutes, so here’s an additional benefit of growing your own food if you aren’t a fan of running.

It’s Good for the Planet

Growing food yourself is not only healthy in a micro-sense for those who are eating it, but in macro-sense as well. That means it’s healthy for your surroundings and the planet. By growing food naturally, without herbicides and pesticides, you will actually decrease pollution. This is especially important because these chemicals can drain into surrounding areas, polluting land and water. Of course, another major thing you do for Mother Nature once you ditch supermarket vegetables is that you stop supporting an industry that pollutes severely by transporting fruits and vegetables cross-country. The more people decide to grow their own food, the lesser will be the need for produce from a land far away.

It Makes You Waste Less

It’s a strange time we live in, buying lots of food but then wasting a significant amount of it. Did you know that in some countries, the second highest component of landfills is organic waste? It is also the largest source of methane emissions. Estimates say that people in the Western World waste around 30% of their food supply. This is about ten kilos per person per month! Now imagine 10 kilos of food on your table. Scary, right? Well, the thing about growing your own food is that you rarely waste it because you know exactly how much time and effort you invested from seed to fruit.

Your taste buds and your wallet will certainly appreciate your new venture into gardening. This is not an expensive hobby, and it’s quite rewarding in many ways. Give it a go, and enjoy your healthier and happier life.

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