Thinking of Growing Your Own Produce? Here’s Why You Should!
Over the past few years, the ’grow-your-own’ movement has surged in popularity, particularly in major cities and urban areas. We’re seeing more and more Australian’s take to their balconies or yards to nurture their personal supply of fruits and vegetables. So why the growing enthusiasm and uptake in home-grown produce? Well, it’s in part due to growing awareness of the abundance of major health benefits it offers.
Of course, if you’re reading this and have already established your own slice of fresh-produce paradise, you won’t need any convincing. But if you’ve been dancing around the idea of growing your very own fruit or veggie garden and need a friendly nudge to pick up that shovel and get planting now, here it is.
There truly are an endless number of benefits to urban gardening, but for the sake of time (so you can get outside and get started) we’re going to touch on four main groups of benefits. So let’s start with the obvious – nutritional benefits.
It’s undeniable that having an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in vitamins and trace elements at your fingertips is an incredible health benefit.
Growing your produce means you know where your food comes from. Being able to tangibly observe the growth of your produce allows you to rest assured knowing the food and your family are eating is nutritious, organic and free of harmful pesticides or additives.
So the more you nourish your greenspace, the more you nourish your own body and health. We encourage you to indulge in green leafy vegetables high in folic acid, iron and ascorbic acid or perhaps appease your sweet tooth with berry fruits rich in anthocyanin, flavonoids and vitamin C. If you’re partial to fresh crunchy apples, add them to your garden and enjoy the rich anti-oxidants they offer. Overall, learning more about the nutritional value of your produce can be a truly incredible and grounding experience, we highly recommend it!
If (like many of us) you’re not a huge fan of exercising just to exercise – here’s the good news! There is compelling evidence of the physiological benefits of urban gardening, even if you’re too distracted with your flourishing produce to notice them in the moment. Most notably, urban gardening can reduce osteoporosis, improve your overall cardiovascular function and increase general muscle tone. So not only is the produce you eat benefiting your health, so is the process of growing it!
One of the most rewarding benefits of growing your own produce is the improvement in psychological health. Evidence shows that playing such a hands-on role in producing the food you consume is an empowering experience for home gardeners and can give us a strong sense of independence and self-sufficiency. Not only that, but gardening at home allows us to connect to nature on a tactile level, tending to flowers, fruits and vegetables is a grounding and perspective-giving activity that often leaves us feeling more connected to ourselves, our planet and each other.
We all know sunshine acts as a mood-booster and research shows that the combination of sunlight, connectedness to nature, and the physical act of planting a garden relieves stress and anxiety. In fact, a study looking at the benefit of gardening on people with diagnosed depression found that every participant had significant improvements in their mental health and depression symptoms after completing a 12-week gardening intervention. So if you’re struggling mentally or just looking for a little bit of clarity, once again home gardening proves to be an incredible venture.
If the personal health benefits haven’t hooked you yet, we’re sure the undeniable savings will! Growing your own fruits and vegetables allows you access to fresh, delicious produce at a fraction of the price you would pay at the grocery store. It can be incredibly satisfying knowing you can feed your family year-round, all the while saving money at the cash register (and saving the planet at the same time)!
You’ll be surprised how much produce can come from a small balcony garden and a few dollars worth of seeds, but it is well and truly enough to keep that wallet closed and heavy.
So, if you want our opinion on starting your own urban veggie or fruit garden, it’s a big green-thumbs up!