Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a very satisfying summer activity with a host of benefits. Not only does it make it easier to eat fresh and healthy foods, it allows you to choose how you want to grow the food you eat. This means that you can choose more natural herbicide or pesticide methods, or go completely organic—you’re the one in control.
What are the hidden benefits of having a garden?
- It is great for the environment. It’s only a matter of steps from your garden to your house, which means no wasted energy in transport to and from the store for you or your food. When you shop at the grocery store, it is very possible that the produce has been flown several hundred or even thousands of miles to get there, especially if it is out of season locally.
- You will get more exercise and burn calories. Gardening is not going to get your heart rate up significantly, but spending time in the garden does count as low intensity exercise and any type of movement is good for your health.
- It will help relieve stress and mental fatigue. Research suggests being closer to nature can help us with stress reduction. The sights, sounds, and smells of the garden all contribute to peace of mind.
- It’s good for your budget. Growing your own food can help reduce the cost of your grocery bill. There are some upfront expenses with starting a garden, but it will more than pay for itself in fruit, veggie and herb savings in the long run.
- It improves your sleep. When we go outside and spend time in the sunshine, it sends cues to our body that it is daylight, and helps set our circadian rhythm so that we can sleep better at night.
- It’s good for your mental health. Taking a break from the cell phone or screen to get outside and play in the soil can have many benefits on our mental health. This is likely due to the stress relief and exercise benefits of gardening. There is no better medicine for our mind than getting outside and spending time in nature.
- It gives you a sense of achievement. Starting a garden, watching the plants grow, and reaping the benefit will bring you a huge sense of achievement. This is good for self-confidence and general self-worth.
If you don’t have space or time for a garden, consider participating in a community garden. If that’s not possible, buying fresh, local produce is the next best thing. When food is grown locally, it’s seasonal and picked at the peak of ripeness instead of several days before it’s ready to eat to ripen in transport. This means that local produce often has more nutrients and even tastes better. As we mentioned before, the shortened transport time makes it better for the environment and safer to eat, as it has a reduced risk of contamination in transit. When you buy local produce you are also supporting the local economy and helping local farmers, which can help create a sense of community—especially if you go to farmer’s markets or join a crop share.
Here are a few local farms and crop share resources:
Start your garden and connect with our nutritionist to find out some fun new recipes and healthy eating tips.