For the Love of Food Gardening
As spring creeps up around the corner, we begin to dream about the summer heat, longer days, and the end of snow and slush. We spend our seasons here in Canada preparing for the following seasons to come—so that we can make the most of the different weathers we get to experience. For many of us, this is the time we start to think about and prepare our food gardens!
Last spring, in a time where there was a lot of anxiety in the air surrounding the ongoing (and ever-living) pandemic, we had been forced to find ways to keep our minds and bodies busy. This has resulted in a whole lot of new hobbies—one of them many of us have taken up being home gardening! Grocery stores’ supplies were limited, we were unsure of how the pandemic would affect global trades, and we were given more time than we knew how to deal with. This gave us all a little extra push to grow our own food.
In our last article, we wrote about using our land for good, and dreamt about a community full of food growers. What we didn’t touch upon was digging into some deeper reasons why food gardening is so good for ourselves, our community and our environment. What are the benefits of food gardening? It may seem simple and doesn’t need to be complex! If it is something that you enjoy just because, then that is perfectly OK! However in this article we are going to highlight even more reasons why food gardening brings goodness to our lives.
Food gardens bring us so much good in our lives. We are able to work on a hobby to keep us busy, we learn about the art and science of growing, and we get to watch our delicious vegetables grow. And let’s admit, there is nothing better than biting into a fresh tomato off the vine! Growing food brings great benefits to our lives and to the environment—to put it in simple terms, food gardening that is as natural as possible. When we are gardening, we are physically moving, we get to interact with the grounds that support our food, we are given something to think about, to be mindful about, and to be intelligent about (because we all want to see the best version of our garden with an abundance of food)!
Intelligence is not just being able to read through books fast or an honours certificate. Intelligence is being a good listener, being open, and eventually being knowledgeable. To be a good food gardener, we need to listen to our environment and to the experts. We need to be open to experimenting with our local land, by adjusting our practices in the way that our land is communicating with us, and to have adaptable consistency with our gardens—then we will have knowledge of what works and doesn’t. That is what makes us intelligent growers!
Food gardening enriches our soils, our souls, and our bodies. If you choose to grow food straight from the ground you are helping bring new life to the underground. You encourage the wiggling of worms which bring immense health benefits to our soil and funguses/mushrooms arise! Of course much more than just that, farmers and food gardeners alike know that soil health is everything—and it is extremely complex. When we recognize what a special experience and connection this is, we are able to feel a greater connection to nature and ultimately, to ourselves.
Food straight from our garden lasts longer than that from the grocery store because it doesn’t have to travel as far of a distance. Food from our gardens can come straight from the soil to our mouths or right to the fridge, elongating its shelf life.
It puts our bees to work, helps the bee population thrive by giving them flowers to pollinate! By the way, did you know that all vegetables have flowers throughout their stage of growing?
The taste is incomparable! Like I said earlier there is nothing better than having tomatoes straight off the vine, it’s a punch full of flavour! Once you start eating local fruits and veggies, supermarket produce won’t compare!
You get to save some money. When you grow your own food, you get to save money on food that you would otherwise buy somewhere else. The main costs to food gardening are initial start up costs (depending on how much you want to do), the cost of seeds, and your water bill (with the help of a rain garden you can use recycled water for free)!
It makes your yard colourful and full of life! Having colour and greenspace brings SO much to our communities wellbeing. Plants bring not just joy to the growers, but also joy to its neighbours.
It’s a perfect way to find community. Whether you use your garden for yourself, or share your food with others, it’s a great way to connect with others, ask questions and enjoy the beauty of nature's work.
What we all share in common, with every single human on this planet, is that we all eat. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, we all need food to survive and thrive. When we eat, we may not stop and think about the journey of our food. We often eat to keep us going and to carry us through our day. I think we all need to acknowledge, show our gratitude, and celebrate the work that goes into putting food on our tables, as I am sure many of us already do. We must acknowledge that someone is growing food to keep us alive and well, and we owe our lives to farmers all over the world for growing us food to eat as well as for growing food to eat the animals we eat (if you choose to eat meat).
If you are thinking about growing your own food, know that it takes a lot of time, effort and energy to keep up with. With that being said I hope that after you’ve finished reading this article you realize that it is greater than its work. Although my words may be inspiring and may push you towards growing your own food, I hope that you have already or will in the future truly feel the inspiration and the wonders of what it means to grow food. It brings immense joy, connection and meaning to our lives. It brings us feelings that cannot be measured, nor explained. Simply, it brings us connection.