YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

vegetables-midsummer

Homegrown is BEST!

It’s almost impossible not to notice the impact we have on our planet. And it isn’t always positive: fossil fuel depletion, pollution, etc. It’s sometimes overwhelming to think about the changes needed to fix everything. Until gas prices went through the roof, many of us didn’t even think about fossil fuels. But then it became personal; it hit us in the proverbial “pocketbook”. The changes that followed – hybrids, alternative fuel research and more – saved us money and the long-term impact on the environment was a positive one.

What about the food we eat? Have you ever wondered where your food comes from? For many, the answer is: It comes from the grocery store. But how does it get there? What happens to it on the way? And why think about it at all, especially when lettuce is on sale?

Grocery store produce typically comes from farther away than you’d think. Your grapes likely came from Chile, your apples from Washington, etc. They travelled in refrigerated trucks, sucking up fossil fuels. Those journeys weren’t just a day or so, either; they sometimes took weeks. What happens to the produce during that time? It loses flavor, as well as nutritional value. That’s where personal impact enters the picture. We moved to hybrid cars, why not homegrown food? Actually, it’s not really that complicated; and, there are some great reasons why you should give it a try!

First, it’s all about health. When you grow your own tomatoes, you know there are no chemicals used (assuming you go organic); but did you know that truly fresh produce has more vitamins? Studies indicate that we eat more fruits and veggies if they come from our own gardens and growing our own saves money, too. Seed packets cost a fraction of the amount of a few tomatoes at the store. And, growing your own food means it didn’t travel farther to get to you than you did on your last vacation!

The taste of fresh produce is unlike anything you’ll find in the store. Vitamins aren’t the only thing homegrown has more of – once you’ve tasted a truly fresh-picked tomato, the ones at the store will taste like air. The better something tastes the more of it you’ll want to eat. In the case of fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great.

You’re also more likely to reduce waste when it’s something you’ve put effort into – like that gorgeous head of lettuce – than you are when it’s something you just tossed in a cart. It, it becomes a matter of pride: From a patch of dirt, to a lush garden! That sense of accomplishment is as good for us as the vitamins in those fresh peppers.

It’s also time spent working outside, breathing fresh air and getting some exercise. It’s time spent with loved ones, as they work alongside you. That’s a win-win if ever there was one. You don’t even have to give up your home in the city and become a farmer, either. Just a small patch of land (yours or a community garden), a container garden on your patio, or a window box on your balcony is all it takes to grow your own!

If growing your own fruits and veggies isn’t an option right now, shop your local farmers’ markets and fruit stands. This is the second best way to support local agriculture and enjoy the freshest produce.

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