by Gemma Lake
There are many, many reasons to grow your own food. For one, it’s incredibly fulfilling – something you can really be proud of. For another, it’s good for the soul – British mental health charity ‘Mind’ found that mental health patients who took up gardening reported “significant increases in wellbeing” . It’s good for the body – and not just because homegrown vegetables are great nutritionally. According to Dr David Agus, gardening “connects you with the land, gets you outside, and encourages you to relax and exercise”, all of which have undoubted physical benefits. However, there’s one positive aspect of growing your own food which often goes unnoticed – it’s really, really good for your bank balance.
Save At The Supermarket
It seems obvious when you think about it, but it’s worth stating from the outset that a packet of seeds will ultimately provide you with a lot of vegetables for a lot less money than buying the fully-grown equivalent at the supermarket would. Prices are rising across the nation, leading nutritionists to have concerns about a subsequent economy-driven drop in essential nutrient intake. As the Wall Street Journal put it, “Grocery shoppers may soon need more green in their wallets to afford their next salad” . Growing your own food, however, neatly bypasses this problem. While the cost of seeds may rise, seeds remain a minimal expenditure compared to the price of full-blown produce. Furthermore, while you may need to invest in some gardening equipment, you’ll save a lot on gas as you won’t be forever driving your car to the store or back. That’s handy, because gas prices are rising steadily. According to USA Today, “gas prices rose for 12 straight weeks through late April, and were 20 cents a gallon higher than the same point last year” . Better off saving on it, it seems!
Save On Your Diet
A lot of us are turning to an increased fruit and vegetable intake because it’s very, very good for us. With information about the nutritional crisis and obesity epidemic America is suffering from being disseminated regularly from every news and media outlet, more and more of us are opting out and putting ourselves on diets. The weight-loss industry is booming on a parallel scale to the fast food industry, and many of us are paying a lot of money to get the honed, healthy body they’ve always craved. This is no bad thing, of course. However, it is perfectly possible to get healthy and toned for next to nothing – and that’s by heading outside and digging up a few healthy vegetables. Gardening – particularly if it involves a lot of digging, like produce production does – is great calorie-burning exercise, and the greens you produce can easily form the greater part of a wonderfully healthy diet. See, the secret that many weight-loss sellers don’t want you to know is that a healthy diet is really very easy – burn off more calories than you take in, and eat a nutritionally balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veg. All economic authorities agree that a diet rich in vegetables is the cheapest diet you can go on, and few nutritionists would disagree that it’s pretty darn healthy, too. Growing your own reduces the dollar expenditure and ups the calorie expenditure even more – what’s not to like?
Gain Some Profit
The world is slowly wising up to the undeniable benefits of sustainably, locally grown produce. The market for locally grown produce is hotting up. Nations like Britain have seen an enormous growth in the popularity of home-grown produce bought locally – a UK government survey demonstrated unequivocally that “People want to buy healthy, local food” . As a consequence, supermarket profits are declining – British grocery giant Tesco has experienced plummeting profits, and was forced to pull out of a fledgling US operation. A similar trend can be observed on this side of the Pond, with more and more people willing to pay that bit extra to know that the food on their plates is local and sustainably grown. You can grasp this zeitgeist by selling anything extra which you grow in your local area – your stall doesn’t have to be anything fancy, veg in trays and an honesty box often does the trick!
 Charlie Cooper, “The good life is good for mental health, says leading charity”, The Independent, Oct 2013
 Eric Morath, “Attention Shoppers: Fruit and Vegetable Prices Are Rising”, Wall Street Journal, April 2014
 Javier E David, “Gas prices shouldn’t be high, but are: What gives?”, USA Today, May 2014
 Uk Gvt, “People want to buy healthy, local food, survey shows”, April 2011