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There’s no denying that growing your own food is trendy. The world over people are connecting with food in a very primal way – by growing it. This isn’t new, our forefathers did it for generations but, in a world that is so disconnected from our natural surroundings, we are rediscovering practical and edible ways to reconnect with our meals.

Here are my top 5 reasons to motivate and inspire you to ‘grow your own’.

1. It tastes better Several studies have shown that organically-grown produce contains more trace minerals and nutrients than conventionally-grown produce. Organic farming starts with the soil, great soil leads to good plant nourishment and, ultimately, our own nourishment.

2. Know what’s in your food Conventional produce plays host to a myriad of chemicals. An independent study in the US showed that even after washing, many fruits and vegetables contained over 60 synthetic chemicals. When growing your own food organically you know both HOW and WHERE your food was grown.

3. It saves you money The average 150g bag of mixed lettuce leaves currently costs between R10-R20 in supermarkets. A 6-pack of lettuce seedlings costs under R20 and if you purchase ‘cut and come again’ types like Reds, Oak, Lolla Rosa and Cos you’ll yield 5 times that over the 2-3 month growing cycle and be guaranteed freshness as you pick what you want, when you need it.

4. Variety It’s estimated that over the past 10 years we’ve lost over 80% of our soya bean varieties as commercial growers have elected to offer only a handful of available varieties through commercial seed catalogs. This is where urban farming truly comes into its own as it’s backyard farmers that keep our heirloom vegetables alive. Purple dragon carrots, white icicle radishes, sugar baby watermelons, black cherry tomatoes, the list is endless. Support small scale growers by buying these seeds at www.livingseeds.co.za or www.thegravelgarden.com.

5. It provides a sense of community I believe food is designed to be communal and what could be more communal than sharing a fresh salad with friends, made with leaves picked from your garden? It’s also a wonderful tool to teach young children where food comes from and to get them outdoors, reconnecting with nature by getting their hands dirty and letting the sun shine on their backs.

Article By Matt, Courtesy of Spatula Magazine

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