As a result of climate change, it is almost certain that average temperatures will rise by 1.5 degrees by 2050, and some scientists have us reaching this much earlier, by 2030. This increase will mean that the climates in the individual areas we live are likely to become hotter, drier, have less rainfall and more extremes of temperatures and climate events. Avocados and subtropical fruits that could once only be grown successfully in those particular climates will become as common and popular as a lemon tree. The average Avocado tree can produce 50-200kg of fruit which is about four times what the average family could eat. By choosing the most productive fruit and vegetables, we can be self-sufficient in food in an area no larger than the suburban front garden. Whilst self-sufficiency is a vital reason to garden, for many growing a diverse range of plants is as important for the planet as it is for the health. The average backyard has enough space to grow up to 200 edible fruiting plants. Even those living in high density housing, apartments and townhouses can grow some vegetables and fruits on patios, balconies and using pots, space-saving devices or vertical gardens.
In the last 100 years as the way we live has become more and more specialized, we have entrusted the growing of food to market gardeners and farmers. These days most of the food we are buying in supermarkets is coming from large scale farms, rather than those smaller operations This change has destroyed the nutritional quality of the food as fruit is picked unripe to extend the supermarket shelf life. Not to mention the fact the amount of fruit and vegetables that is shipped from other countries and spends months in storage to extend its shelf life and ensure we have any products all year round. Seasonal eating is not something we have to apply anymore. A survey found that what supermarkets euphemistically call “Fresh Food” could be 12 months old!
Almost all the berry fruits such as strawberries abs raspberries are picked before sugars, vitamins abs antioxidants develop. Fruit is now sprayed with anti-ripening chemicals. Orchardists make much more profit by pumping apples grapes and tomatoes so full of water to boost weight that flavor, nutrition abs antioxidant levels are almost negligible. Have you noticed this with bananas lately? They seem to have very little flavor, the color is more white than yellow and they are bigger than they have ever been. So over cultivated and modified, are they even bananas?
You may be surprised and alarmed to realize that 90% of the garlic we eat is imported. Our quarantine department insists that every bulb is fumigated with one of the worlds most deadly chemicals- methyl bromide. These chemicals kill weeds, insects, bacteria etc rendering soils sterile abs lifeless. It’s more destructive to the atmosphere’s ozone layer than CFCs were. Even ignoring whether it’s safe to use on food, don’t we have a right to know whether garlic is sprayed with chemicals like this? We now have country of origin labeling which does help to Inform us to make a choice to buy locally produced food, however the labeling doesn’t tell us what’s been sprayed onto the food before we buy it.
Ninety percent of fruit and vegetable cultivars are lost
Apples have been cultivators for thousands of years at the turn of the century there were thousands of apple varieties. Almost all these cultivars have been replaced by 4 or 5 supermarket varieties because the supermarkets are not interested in buying any apple with less than 4 month shelf life. This is the reason why 90% of all fruit and vegetables have disappeared. You only have to do a taste test on tomatoes or strawberries that are heirloom varieties grown in a home garden with the supermarket hybrids to know something has gone drastically wrong in recent times.
The best tasting food never reaches the market
Without exception the best tasting abs most nutritious fruits and vegetables never reach the supermarkets. Our food is so altered it’s hard to know if it actually has any benefit in eating. But when we grow the own food we know what we
Are eating. We cannot trust multinational seeds merchants to grow the best food, we can’t trust government s to regulate a globalized food supply abs we can no longer trust the farmers or supermarkets to grow quality food unless it carries an organic label. If you value your health, it’s time to get in the garden and start growing some of your own food.
Growing your own food will help save the planet
The globalization of the food supply has unexpectedly destabilized the climate we need to grow the food. Climate scientists estimate that about 25-30% of the greenhouse gas emissions are the result of us not growing the own food. When you take into account the typical energy cost of transporting food to your local grocer, it is estimated that an average distance of 1,500 miles is traveled before the food is consumed. By replacing the own energy to dig, grow and harvest the own food with non-renewable fossil fuels, it has been estimated to account for almost 50% of the additional CO2 that is contributing to the destabilization of the climate. Fossil fuels are used to plough the ground, sow the seeds, spray the plants, harvest the crop and then ship, often thousands of miles and internationally to market. We all know the urgency required by each one of us to help contribute to significantly cutting emissions in the net twenty years. By growing the own food we can help do this is a pretty significant way. Aim for a garden where every plant is edible An edible garden is a garden that contains flowers, herbs, seeds, berries and plants that you can eat. It does not have to be a large area. Your garden can start small with a few pots and containers, or even just a window box or vertical hanger with a few herbs.
Healthy lives begin at the kitchen table
With a little research and planning, some commitment and a lot of love you can become totally or partially self-sufficient and help rescue those precious heirloom fruits and vegetables that are essential to preserving the gardening civilization. Only about 10% of the population gets enough exercise to maintain the basic fitness for heart and lungs. Gardening has so many health and therapeutic benefits, and can be enjoyed by everyone. It is very rewarding to spend time in the garden tending plants and growing your own food. With some planning and thought, you can create an interesting, productive and pleasant space that can be used as an edible garden. As we have delegated the growing of our food to others, not only has the quality of the food declined but the health has suffered as well. Our globalized diet has caused us to be over-fed, under-exercised and under-nourished. Hypocrites wrote, “Let food be thy medicine and they medicine be they food”. Today’s nutritionists and dietitians are unanimous in recommending once common thing, to eat more fruits and vegetables. We need to be aiming for 7 serves each and every day. Growing your own food is the key to a healthy log life.
Food is for friendship, food is for family, food is your medicine, for a long and healthy life.