If you poll 100 people on the street about food gardening and its benefits, probably all 100 of them will say that growing your own food is healthier — but they might not be able to say why. And if you’re hoping your kids will pick up on your gardening passion, it’s all the more reason to understand just how growing your own organic food is healthy for your family. Here are our top 5 ways (to encourage you and to impress your neighbors):
1. Gardening is an outdoor activity. Bending, stretching, a little light cardio, the sunshine on your face…almost any activity outdoors is healthier than one done indoors, right? But gardening has that extra magic pixie dust — it’s fun and infinitely rewarding.
2. You grow what’s in season. Foods grown in their proper location and season have up to three times the amount of nutrients than foods grown out of season. Out-of-season foods demand all the bells and whistles to get and keep them going, and sometimes those bells and whistles aren’t good for you. Following Mother Nature’s lead is always best.
3. You control the quality. If you want quality food, you pay dearly for it at the grocery store. But quality food from your own garden? You can be sure that it’s food grown the way you can trust, since you are your own Quality Control Manager.
4. Kids that grow food eat more veggies. When children are a part of the process — from turning the compost pile to planting seeds, watering, and harvesting, they are dramatically more likely to eat higher quantities of fruits and vegetables. No more, “Ooh, that’s gross!” and more “Can I try it?” — music to any parent’s ears.
5. Veggies & fruits that ripen in your garden taste better and are more nutritious. Produce at your grocery store (even the best ones) is picked early so it won’t spoil in transit. This means that apple or that tomato hasn’t had the amount of sunlight and growth time to yield the best taste and the highest nutrient level. But growing your own? All you have to do is step outside and pick what is perfectly ripe that day. Heaven.