Thursday, July 9, 2009
My husband and I have had arguments about my little experiments in growing food. They go something like this:
him: you know you’re not saving money by doing this, right?
me: what do you mean? of course we’re saving money. Have you seen how much veggies cost these days?
him: yes. But you aren’t factoring in the water, soil, fertilizer and plant costs that are going into your little garden, are you?
him: so long as you agree that this is just for fun and not practical. Because if you want efficiency and cost savings, you should just buy your produce at the store.
me: well aren’t you a party-pooper.
He, of course, has a point. It is more efficient for large-scale industrial farms to churn out food which is then harvested prematurely and hauled across the country in freight trucks. And yes, it is a very cheap way to eat. This is why, in a market-based system (propped up by giant farm subsidies...ahem), it has become the primary modus operatus for food. God bless efficiency!
However, I have to disagree with him when he says it isn’t practical to grow your own food. Because practicality should not only be measured in monetary savings (as many in the testosterone camp are inclined to do). So here are a few reasons why it is practical to have a veggie garden, party-pooping husbands excepting:
* it increases food security. We’ve become highly dependent on the big corporations that grow and deliver our food, but what if something were to happen to them? It is comforting to know that my yard can produce at least some sustenance if I need it in a pinch.
* it delivers more vitamins and minerals. Not only does homegrown food taste better (remarkably better!), but because the journey from ground to table is so short, those important nutrients that are in fruits and veggies don’t have an opportunity to deteriorate.
* it decreases our risk of contaminants and pathogens. With all the food scares lately, it is nice to know that the chances of something poisoning me from my own vegetable garden are significantly smaller than from commercial veggie sources.
* it is good for the soul (can you picture my husband rolling his eyes right now?). Seriously--getting out into the dirt, planting seeds, tending to their growth, and then eating their fruits, is very rewarding. It connects us to one of the most basic functions that defines human civilization: cultivating food. Thankfully we don’t have to strive as much as our ancestors did for this cultivation, but it feels good to strive a little. Sort of grounding in a way.
There are, of course, multiple other reasons why growing your own food is practical, but you get the picture.
As for my party-pooping husband--well, he loves the taste of freshly shelled peas, thank you very much.
Previous Related Posts:
My Sprouts are Sprouting!
Ode to Peas
How to Eat your Garden Peas (aka last night's dinner)