1. Homegrown food tastes better. Plain and simple. Here’s why: the food you grow at home is fresher, and in season, which delivers better taste. And then there’s the “oh, so THAT is what this is supposed to taste like” moments.
2. You will be healthier. You can eat foods at the height of their nutritional value – just picked! You will also find yourself eating more veggies. If it’s growing right there at home, what’s to stop you from throwing it on your plate? Gone are the days, when you gazed into the fridge, saying, “We’re out of kale. Let’s just have cake.”
A friend and I recently stood over my kitchen counter which was cluttered with just-picked veggies, and we were snacking and catching up. We both oohed and aahed as we spoke, insisting the other try THIS Bloomfield spinach leaf or THIS Deer Tongue lettuce. That never happens over a bowl of chips. It can happen over a beer sampling. Thankfully, vegetables and beer samplings are not mutually exclusive. But countertops of veggies trump a bag of chips, for sure.
3. You can rub your friends face in it. You will be a superior human being. Your friends will coo with admiration and jealousy. You will know you are doing your part for mankind, heck…for Mother Earth herself! Make sure you post photos of your harvests on Facebook.
4. You will experience diversity. You also get to experience the nuances of flavor across different varieties of the same vegetable. You can also try vegetables you didn’t even know existed! You can pick and choose unique vegetables for increased nutrition…for different micro-climates…for prettier flowers…for better eating. Support veggie varieties that aren’t bred simply because they can sit in trucks for long periods of time.
5. You can connect with history. You can plant seeds with a story. Heirloom and non-conventional varieties of vegetables come with a history…histories that are threatened by GMOs. One of my favorite stories is of an heirloom variety of “Fish” Pepper. It was a variety invented by African-American slaves who wanted to grow a spicy pepper that mimicked their native foods. It was called a “fish” pepper because it was made into a white paprika spice for fish and seafood dishes. And I grow that same hot pepper at my house. Go search out your own story!
6. Gardening will make you a better parent. Your kids will eat veggies willingly and enthusiastically right before your very eyeballs. Kids love to eat veggies from the garden. (Fun fact: radishes by seed are easy and quick-growing giving kids a quick veggie payoff.) There’s something thrilling about planting a seed, watching it grow, picking its fruit, and consuming it, that kids really connect to. They quickly gain an appreciation for what it takes to grow food. They also learn the value of hard work and get a life science lesson in one fell swoop. Just think how GOOD you are gonna feel about yourself as a parent! This vegetable garden really does pay for itself, doesn’t it?
Actually it does.
7. You will save money. Money, like the Earth, is green and it deserves some saving. That said, let’s not put too much pressure on ourselves to pull in a profit the first time out. You may be new at this. Your garden will not save you money the very first year but in time, it will. And as you know, WHERE you spend your money is of the upmost importance. That’s how we invest our money everyday. I’d rather you send your dinero to Territorial Seeds for Fish Pepper seedlings than McDs for Filet-o-Fish.
8. Homegrown food is safer. Local foods are handled less, and have less exposure to contaminants than supermarket and restaurant foods. Comparatively, local foods are also stored for shorter periods of time. Taking that to the next level are foods grown in your own yard. Homegrown foods are the LEAST handled and the LEAST exposed and almost never stored. Usually you pick what you need. Homegrown is the safest food you can eat. No E. coli on you my friend. That bod is a temple!
9. Shrink your footprint. Has your foot lost weight? No…you’re just creating less pollution. Homegrown food has nada nill NO negative environmental impact. It doesn’t have to travel long distances in a stinky truck, use up energy and causing pollution. You can control your growing environment so you don’t need to use poisonous pesticides and fertilizers. You can green your plate, your yard, your neighborhood and your world. You really are a garden warrior.
10. Get that temple in shape. Hauling dirt, shoveling compost, pulling weeds…this is good, hard, respectable work. Do it well and do it often. Do it for your schools and your friends and neighbors. Next thing ya know, even your biceps will have biceps. And if you are wondering if you are in your garden enough, check your nails. If there’s no dirt under there, you better get out in your garden. Green thumbs are brown thumbs.
11. Take a stand. For local food. Fresh food. Organic food. Non-genetically modified food. For farmers. Clean water. Clean air. Citizen rights! It’s kinda sexy.
12. Homegrown gardens are beautiful. Even when surrounded by a raccoon-deterring fence. Gardens are a boon to your eyes and to the beauty of all your other plants. Permaculture is veggie-friendly and vice versa. Enjoy the eating and the view.