Tag Archives: Produce

5 really good reasons to grow your own food

Here are my top five reasons to grow your own food:

Improve Your Health

It is pretty much common knowledge that eating fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you and your family can do to stay healthy. Growing your own food in your backyard, on your windowsills, or in patio containers ensures that you will be eating more fruits and vegetables daily, thus providing you with essential vitamins and minerals and other nutrients that are important for good health. Also, growing your own food teaches your children where their food actually comes from and that it doesn’t come from the grocery store, but from the soil, the earth.

Purposeful Exercise

Growing your own food provides you with purposeful physical activity on a regular basis. Planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting offer plenty of exercise and can help you relax as well. Gardening is great for the whole family!

Save Money

Cut your grocery bill in half by growing the fruits and vegetables you eat the most.

Better Tasting Produce

When you grow your own fruits and vegetables you have control of what does and does not go into your food therefore, keeping it safe to eat and tasty too!

Help The Environment

Growing your food organically, without herbicides or pesticides, helps reduce air and water pollution. You also help reduce the carbon emissions resulting from the transport of fresh produce from different parts of the world via planes and refrigerated trucks to your neighborhood supermarkets.

Even if you don’t have a backyard, you can still grow your own food. I grow leafy greens, such as spinach and arugula in containers. This could be an option if you have a balcony or patio that gets a good amount of sun or start with an indoor herb garden on a windowsill. Another possibility would be to find out if there are any community gardens available in your city where you can tend to your very own plot.

Check out these Gardening Resources to help you get started.

A Beginner’s Guide to Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1292

Starting a Community Garden

http://communitygarden.org/learn/starting-a-community-garden.php

Find a community garden near you with our Bi-National Community Garden Database

http://acga.localharvest.org

Getting Started: A Guide for Starting a School Garden

http://www.lifelab.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/GettingStarted.pdf

Kitchen Gardening 101: How to Grow Your Own Food

http://kgi.org/how-to-grow-a-kitchen-garden

TOP 10 REASONS TO GROW YOUR OWN ORGANIC FOOD

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/top-10-reasons-to-grow-your-own-organic-food

Smart Shopping: Fruits and Vegetables

Besides being delicious to eat, fruits and vegetables have many health benefits. They are low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as isoflavones and beta-carotene.  Eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and some types of cancers. In addition, fiber–rich fruits and vegetables such as bananas and broccoli can fill you up so that you stay fuller longer. It is possible to fit vegetables and fruits into any budget. Here are some low-cost ways to meet your daily fruit and vegetable intake.

1. Buy in Season

Choose and use fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season. Buying in season is easy to get when you buy locally.  In season local produce has more flavor and is usually less expensive. Fruits and vegetables that are shipped lose flavor because they are harvested early and refrigerated to prevent rotting.  Your local farmer’s market or community garden is a great source of seasonal produce because it is usually cheaper and healthier with pesticide-free and no preservatives options.

The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (website with a list of farmers’ markets in the San Francisco Bay Area) http://www.pcfma.com

2. Look for Sales

Buy produce on sale. If there are special deals on fruits and vegetables, for example buy one get one free, grab them, excess can be frozen for later.  Sale items disappear quickly, so shop early to take advantage of any specials!  Keep in mind that produce sales may be based on surplus, so check the date and freshness before you buy.

3. Grow Your Own Food

Start a garden—in your yard or in containers on a deck—for fresh, inexpensive, produce. Herbs, greens or tomatoes are good options for beginners. Visit your local library or search online for more information on starting a garden.  GoodFoodMama will be starting a series of how-to’s on growing your own food in September.

4. Low-Cost Options

Certain fruits and vegetables are typically low-cost options because they are available all year round. For vegetables, buy carrots, greens, or potatoes.  For fruits, apples and bananas
are good choices.

How do you shop smart while still keeping your refrigerator full of fruits and vegetables?