Why bother to grow a vegetable garden? It takes a considerable amount of time; food is considerably cheaper in the shops than it was 60 years ago; it's a nightmare when you go on holiday; but I have grown a vegetable garden at home for the last two years. It may not be the biggest, it may have more weeds than most, but I still persevere and here's why.

Have you ever heard of the Blue Zones? They are small regions around the world where people live traditional lives and they live considerable longer than the rest of us, I mean over 100 years. Yes and part of the secret to their success is that they all seem to grow their own vegetables even though they are entirely separate communities all over the world. Their gardens are a cornerstone of their healthy lifestyle.

Having a vegetable garden has a number of benefits. First you get the free food. Food that just pops right up out of the ground, you just add a bit of water, wait for the sunshine and wait some more and then all of a sudden a meal pops up. Secondly, It isn't as free as it first appears, there is some work required on your part to make it a success. This has some benefits though: you complete low impact exercise moving your bosy in lots of different ways over a sustained period of time; you also get a large amount of vitamin D and research seems to suggest that spending more time outside makes people happier. Thirdly it's organic or at least my garden is. This means that you know what you are eating, you aren't ingesting chemicals and the food is fresher and contains more vitamins and minerals. Fourthly, it is great for your food miles. The food isn't imported from another country sitting frozen in a shipping container for a month. I think growing your own food is one of the best things you cna do for the environmnet. We haven't even mentioned the plastic yet. None of the salad that I grow comes wrapped in plastic that I simply throw in the bin only for it to sit in the ground for hundreds of years waiting to decompose. Fifthly, it tastes better. My produce doesn't always look as neat and tidy as the food in the shops, but it makes up for it with flavour. You soon realise how bland most shop food tastes and you get to pick the food when you want, so you don't get any waste. Finally, it makes you appreciate food. When you grow it you don't take it for granted, you realise how fragile a harvest can be and how in the days before freezers how people could easily go hungry. So when you grow your own food, you seem to waste a lot less.

It may not be worth it financially if you factor in your time. It would be more productive to earn money doing extra work at your day job and spend it in the store, but not all activities should be valued monetarily, I think those blue-zone sages are right we need to grow our own food in our backyard.


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