“Growing your own food is like printing your own money,” said Ron Finley on a TED Talk about living in a food desert and the problems his community faces in dealing with that dilemma. Gardening brings economic benefits, brings together a community, and allows you to control your own food supply.
In regard to economic benefits, gardens are an investment. They start out small, and grow into something big that you can replicate over the years with seed saving, regenerative practices, and general upkeep.
Starting your garden can be as cheap as you want it to be, and can certainly help save you money in the future as you depend less on purchasing food from the grocery stores or markets.
You can grow your garden in various sizes. My current garden is grown in several different clay pots. Some people plant gardens on rooftops, on walls, in any container they can find that might be suitable, even trucks!
Try experimenting with different plants at first to see what works best in your climate and general area. You can purchase seeds online, or several grocery, local produce, and home maintenance stores have them as well. Pay attention to the kind of seeds you buy, and try to get organic or heirloom seeds if possible.
Gardens are an investment in community. A local scene in Orlando, FL called the Dandelion Communitea Cafe has started a Seed Bank project outside of its establishment, which allows locals to freely exchange seeds and encourage gardening. I think this is a wonderful idea, and would love to see other examples of this kind of sharing around the country. Remember, sharing is caring!
For some produce though, you don’t even have to purchase the seeds, all you need to do is know how to handle the scraps from food you normally buy, before you throw them away! Like the carrots in my previous article, there are several different herbs, fruits, and vegetables that you can regrow. (We’ll also talk more about seed saving later).
I’m currently in the process of re-growing an onion. It started to sprout in my pantry, so I cut around the bad parts and put them in my compost pile, used the good parts to cook a nice meal, and replanted the center of the onion, which will produce more layers and regrow itself! Didn't I say plants were smart?
The plants that you grow organically in your own garden reduce pollution and all the need for packaging, transporting, shipping and travel costs. You also get the freshest food delivered right to the soil in your yard by the sun and rain, and your own productive care. You can control how much you grow, how it is grown, and how to distribute it. If we continue to rely on others to produce our food, we are at the whim of their interests, not ours. Every little bit you can do to wean yourself off of that system will help you and your community to become self-sufficient and put power back into your own hands.
Starting a garden is like growing your own money, but it is also much more than that. In my next post, we’ll talk about real cost in the food system, and the price we aren't taking into account with our purchasing power.Stay tuned!