Why should I grow my food?

Sep 23, 2021

 

Why should I grow my food?  Thinking about the current situation and you’re worried about what the future will bring.  There are many reasons why you should grow your own food.

  • Freshness
  • Readily available
  • Food shortages
  • Grow what you like
  • Bored at home
  • Cost of food
  • Environmental reasons

You can grow your food at home in the garden or in pots.  With the right growing conditions, you could have fresh food at your back door.

 

Reasons why you should grow your food

Freshness 

Ever reached down in the supermarket and picked up vegetables and the label says ‘Grown in Canada or USA’.  That’s the other side of the planet.  Most fruit, vegetables and herbs have a similar travel story.

Picked under-ripe, to have the crop ripe enough in the shops it needs to be picked under-ripe and put into cold storage.  Some fruits are treated to last longer with gas or similar to extend them past the growing season.

Packed up and shipped to a wholesaler, where they may sit in cold storage again until they are sold.  Where they are put in a truck or transport and shipped out to the shops and supermarkets.  Once they get to the shops they are put into cold storage again until they are put on the shelf for sale.  All the while the vitamins and nutrients in the crop is slowly diminishing.

 If you grow your own you can leave the crop until it is almost ripe to ripe and at its tastiest.  Vegetables picked and eaten on the same day are loaded with nutrition and flavour.

 Readily available

You get home late from work and look in the fridge.  Oh, you should have gone to the shops, too late now.  Then you walk out your back door and collect some herbs, tomato, capsicum and some greens, you are ready to make pasta or a salad.

 If you regularly plant new seeds or seedlings you can have a continuous harvest through the growing season.  

 

 

 

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 Food shortages

Many things can cause food shortages.

Disasterscyclones, floods or severe storms can wipe out a whole crop for example Cyclone Yasi 2011 damaging the banana crop near Innisfail in North Queensland.  The shortage in banana’s raised the prices dramatically. 

Shops could ration foods or they can make them expensive so fewer people buy them.  Your emergency kit will only go so far before you need to find more food.

Disasters can also affect the electrical grid resulting in lack of refrigeration and food spoilage. 

Transport problems – transport companies may go on strike limiting resupply to the shops.  There can be a plant disease outbreak which can restrict the movement of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Roads can be cut by flooding or seasonal disasters limiting movements.

Drought – No water is just as big a problem as too much water.  With a lack of rain or drought, farmers can’t sow the next season’s crop so less food is grown.  Drought can also affect the river flow, which can affect the water rights the farmer has for growing food.  The farm may not be in drought but upriver there hasn’t been any rain for a year or two so the river is dry.

 Import or export issues – food trade deals can end or have problems with supply or transport.  Countries have their weather, disaster problems or go to war with others.  It only takes a small problem to cause a ripple effect such as a trade ban because of something political.

 If you have something growing in your garden or at your back door you are going to be better off than those who don’t.  I have a vegetable garden and some chickens, my theory is if all else fails I have eggs and vegetables for dinner.

 Future problems – depending on who you listen too the future may be more stressful to live in and you would benefit from developing your skills in self-sufficiency.

 

 Grow what you like eating

Look around any supermarket and you will see the same limited varieties of produce.  Then look at an online seed website.  Why don’t the shops have more variety? 

As I said earlier shop food has a long journey, they need to find varieties that are not delicate and can survive the bouncing around for a week or two.  Foods like mulberries lose fullness shortly after picking so they just can’t handle the trip. 

Some many fruits and vegetables are developed for flavour and not durability.

 Growing your own food gives you a creative licence to grow what you like as long as it suits your growing zone.  You get to experiment with the different varieties of tomatoes to find the one you like.

 

 

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Bored during lockdown

With the endless months of lockdown, people are getting bored.  Arts and crafts along with hobbies are increasing.  Growing your own food would be a double bonus, you have something to do and you get fresh produce in return.

 

Cost of food

The cost of food is affected by the availability, the season, and the cost of processing the food.  There are also the more common foods that are sold in small packages and seemed to be priced reasonably until you do the maths.

 Herbs are sold in small packets around 15g bunches.  That works out to be between $200 -$300 per kg.  That is a rip off for something that you can have in a pot near your back door.

 With the whole uncertainty in the job market and businesses not being open, family incomes are restricted so there is less money to spend on everyday items.    For the price of a kilo of tomatoes, you can buy 3 to 4 loaves of bread so during hard times food guidelines get pushed aside.

 

Environmental reasons

The environment can benefit from growing your food at home instead of relying on big agriculture.  Homegrown food –

  • Doesn’t have disposable packaging
  • Has fewer food miles
  • Has less processing (electricity, chemicals)
  • You know how it was grown and what chemicals were used
  • There is less waste as unused produce can go into the compost

 

 

Key points

Foods are getting more expensive, and our budgets aren’t keeping up.  With the whole COVID lockdown situation with have more time than money so we should be growing our own food.  You may be in a good situation at the moment but what if it gets worse? 

Look in your pantry, do you have enough to feed your family for the next few weeks?

 If you want to grow your own vegetables and herbs at home but you don’t have a garden or there are reasons you can’t carry out classic gardening you can still grow vegetables and herbs at home in pots.  Yes, in pots!  If you want to learn more you can enrol in my course ‘Growing Vegetables in Pots’ and start growing your own food this week.

 

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