Gardening is an engaging, fun activity that anyone can take up at any point in their life. The benefits to starting a garden are numerous, and after realizing them, one might wonder why they did not start pursuing this earlier. With advances in technology, you don’t even need to have a large backyard or live in a sunny area to garden.
As part of a series of articles on the benefits of gardening, this week we are focusing on health. Not only is it healthy to have lots of greens in your diet, but keeping the chemical pesticides and herbicides is a big reason most people prefer to eat from their own garden. This week we are focusing on the health benefits of sustainable agriculture–particularly cutting out the unnecessary chemicals in our food.
Sustainable agriculture produces food that does not harm the environment
- Industrial crop farming are dependent on chemical fertilizers known to cause long-term degradation of overall soil quality.
- More energy is now used to produce synthetic fertilizers than to till, cultivate and harvest all the crops in the United States.
By growing your own produce, you are promoting farming practices that do not endanger your health
- Toxins like pesticides and chemicals have been linked to a range of diseases and disorders including infertility and birth defects, and can potentially create damage to the nervous system and cause cancer.
- Industrial food is also refrigerated and shipped from long distances, decreasing its nutritional value.
The food you grow just tastes better
- An added benefit of growing your own food is simply that it tastes much better. Not so long ago, herbs and spices and sugar were used to enhance the flavor in our food. But in recent decades our taste buds have been corrupted through the use of cheap chemicals and corn syrup to fill that role. We’ve forgotten how wonderfully delicious fresh food tastes.
- Many studies have shown that organically grown food has more minerals and nutrients that we need than food grown with synthetic pesticides. There’s a good reason why many chefs use organic food in their recipes—it just tastes better.
How to Keep Chemicals Off of Your Plate?
Many pesticides approved for use by the EPA were registered long before extensive research linking these chemicals to cancer and other diseases had been established. Now the EPA considers 60 percent of all herbicides, 90 percent of all fungicides and 30 percent of all insecticides carcinogenic. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides might cause an extra 4 million cancer cases among Americans. If you are growing your own food, you have control over what does, or doesn’t go into it. Growing your own food reduces the harmful impact on the environment from many levels, not to mention again – it just tastes better!