Day 22: Grow your own food


Why should you grow your own food ?

Growing your own food has so many benefits for your health and the environment, not to mention the pride you get from being self-sufficient. Everyone can start at their level, whether it’s growing some herbs on the balcony or having a large backyard garden.

While buying food locally grown from the farmer’s market is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, growing your own food takes it to the next level!


No transport

The typical energy cost of transporting food to your local grocer is estimated to an average distance of 2500 km of travel before the food is consumed. This large-scale, long-distance transportation of food relies heavily on the energy from burning fossil fuels. In fact, it is estimated that we currently put nearly 10 kilo-calories of fossil fuel energy into our food system for every one kilo-calorie of energy we get from food. By growing your own food you don’t rely on fossil fuels, by having fresh food waiting at home.


No pesticides or fertilisers

Pesticides and fertilisers are used on most conventionally grown crops. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60% of all herbicides, 90% of all fungicides and 30% of all insecticides carcinogenic (could cause cancer). More are responsible for an important biodiversity loss by killing insects which contribute highly to pollination of crops and are very important to the ecosystems’ balance. They also cause heavy air and water pollution. When growing your own food you decide what gets added to your food.


Saves money

Growing your food might help you lower your grocery bill. If you can’t afford to buy organic food and don’t want to put your money towards industries that have unsustainable practices, growing your own food may be your best option. A packet of seeds will cost you less than a dollar and if you buy non hybrid species you might be able to save seeds from the best producers and dry them to use them the next year. What about when it gets snowy and cold? Check out this post on inexpensive ways to grow food in the winter.


Better tasting food

Fresh food tastes better and has a higher nutritional value. Do you actually know for how long the food on your supermarket shelf has been there? Compare the flavour of a homegrown tomato with the taste of a store-bought one - just do it ! Healthier produce means a heathier you. It will diversify your palate and expose your diet to more nutritious foods; “eating the rainbow” has a lot of benefits for you!


Want to get started? Learn how to grow your own food by yourself or try at a workshop !

Be sure to check out the amazing Food is Free project which brings communities together and could mean food security for everyone if taken to a larger scale! Sustainability Trust organises workshops to help this project develop in New Zealand.