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Grow Your Oakland http://www.growyouroakland.org
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grow  food

Why grow your own food? Here's the short list:

  • save money

  • convenience

  • eat more vegetables = healthier you, healthier family

  • regular love from the gardener = better flavor

  • it feels good to get your hands dirty

growyourownThose five reasons alone are plenty—you can stop here, download the how-to backyard garden guide and start growing your salads today. No yard? No worries, you can still grow a salad: a few pots in a sunny window will crank out tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and herbs. Enjoy, and stop by your nearest Oakland Farmer's Markets for fresh locally-grown produce while you're waiting for your own veggies to come up. If you need more food for thought before you dip your toes in, read on—then download the guide and get those salad seeds going.

Supposedly Americans have the most healthy and abundant food supply in the world, and here in the Bay there's no shortage (depending on your neighborhood of course) of grocery stores packed with good things to eat.

Not many of us spend time thinking about where our food comes from—at least we have food, right? Most of our food actually goes on an amazing odyssey before we swallow it: from factory to factory to warehouse to truck or plane or boat to another truck to our local store. And each one of those legs constitutes a step away from the basic purpose of food: to sustain us.

The nutritional value of food made in factories and shipped across the country is not what it should be. Factory processing strips original ingredients of much of their nutritional power, and any produce shipped from far away was surely picked before that peak nutritional value was reached.

Produce from your own garden, picked at its peak, is guaranteed to be more fresh and flavorful than the produce in your grocery store. It's not likely you'll have the land or the time to grow all of your own fruits and vegetables, however starting a modest garden is a great way to bring more truly nutritional and sustaining food into your life.

Shipping food great distances also compromises our health by burning fossil fuels, resulting in pollution and detrimental climate change. Reduce your carbon and pollution footprint by growing some vegetables—the only shipping involved is the walk from your garden to your kitchen. Additionally, growing your vegetables organically guarantees that no pesticides or chemical fertilizers, which are often derived from fossil fuels, will be around to threaten your health and contaminate the little piece of earth you call your yard.

Growing our own food is also a great way to combat the sense of helplessness brought on by tough economic times. Not only is it a great tool for saving on groceries now, it's also a useful way to be ready for potentially tougher times. Beyond the usual economic ups and downs our national food supply system will inevitably be compromised and disrupted by the dwindling and eventual disappearance of petroleum. Most of us lack the skills and knowledge to grow our own right now; this is a great time to learn, and offset our carbon output in the process.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, putting your hands in the dirt and connecting to the earth that grows your food is straight-up good for your soul. Eating something you grew yourself is incredibly satisfying! Digging a hole, putting a seed or tiny plant in, taking care of it and watching it grow, enjoying its fruits—these are basic pleasures we all have a right to.

Got enough reasons?

If you're still hungry for info, check our food gardening links and search for even more online—here's a great recent article on SFGate to get you started (after you download the guide, right?).

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