A direct relationship exists between how a nation grows and distributes food and people’s health, along with the effects those actions have on the environment. Renowned landscape designer and charity supporter Jennifer Miree Cope weighs in on the impact that growing your own food can have.
It may seem like a stretch to connect gardening and climate change. However, growing food can impact our health and the environment in several ways. Noted landscape designer Jennifer Miree Cope explains the 6 environmental and health benefits of growing your own food.
1. Cheaper, Tastier Food
Organic food that you grow yourself tastes best because you control the growing conditions, the soil, and the environment. You won’t have to pay high prices for commercially grown fruits and vegetables that have been engineered to survive long processing and travel times. It simply doesn’t get fresher than your garden.
2. Reduced Greenhouse Gases
Sustainable ecological landscapes can influence everything from quality family time to health to carbon emissions. “According to the EPA, around 25% of carbon emissions are caused by food production around the world,” Cope explains.
“It begins when land is cleared to make room for crops, but this action reduces the environment’s capacity for absorbing and storing carbon. This means more carbon is released to the atmosphere, contributing to greenhouse gases.”
3. Learning Opportunities
Cope also stresses the importance of growing your own food to provide yourself and your family with educational opportunities surrounding plants, food, and the environment.
The more people garden, the more they tend to want to expand their efforts as they learn. This, in turn, can open up opportunities for knowing more and growing more varieties of food.
4. Connection with Nature
Many people enjoy gardening because it gives them the chance to connect physically with something much bigger than themselves on a grand scale.
When growing your own food, you get as close to nature as possible and directly experience the growing process and payoff. Your reward for connecting with nature is delicious, healthy food and a profound sense of satisfaction.
5. Less Fertilizer and Fewer Pesticides
Although natural fertilizers and pesticides are on the market, commercial crop growing continues to rely heavily on toxic chemical versions. Cope points out that the EPA claims that pesticide sales in the United States total $15 billion a year, and fertilizer sales are more than $19 billion annually.
When you grow your own food, you can opt to use organic solutions, thereby reducing the dangerous chemicals seeping into the earth and groundwater.
6. More Nutritious Food
Commercially grown food is often genetically altered to look better and more appealing, which can reduce its nutritional content. Healthy plants are grown in soil that contains helpful microbes; plants that “look good” typically are not.
Doing your own gardening allows you to manage your soil and add those helpful microbes that improve the nutritional content of the food you and your family members eat.
About Jennifer Miree Cope
A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Jennifer Miree Cope is known for her talent as a landscape designer. When she’s not hiking the North Carolina mountains or attending the University of Alabama sporting events, she volunteers with one of the charities started by the Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama: STAIR tutoring, the Children’s Fresh Air Farm, and Holiday House.