Wednesday, July 1, 2015

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I'm often told by people that they can't eat organic because it's too expensive. In the short term, this is indeed true to some extent. My answer to them is "How much are you spending on over-the-counter remedies, doctor's bills, and prescription drugs? How many health issues can be traced back to an unhealthy diet?" Also, bear in mind that USDA organic certification is a costly process. Many small farms are using sustainable practices, and growing organic, but can't afford the certification.

The law of supply and demand is generally defined as: the amount of a commodity, product, or service available and the desire of buyers for it, considered as factors regulating its price. Historically, the more demand there is for a product, the more production of the product occurs, leading to lower prices for that product. My thought is that maybe we aren't demanding that more healthy food be available. That being said, people who want affordable organic food, do have options. Grow your own. Support a local farmer who uses sustainable/organic practices in the production of food. Local Harvest can help you locate one in your area.

Let's talk about the first option. Many people believe you have to live on a farm to grow your own food. This simply isn't true. Gardens are springing up in abandoned urban lots, on rooftops, in suburban backyards, and even apartment balconies. There's even a website called Shared Earth. This website, which Sustainable America acquired last year, is designed to connect people who want to garden or farm with people who have land or tools to share.  

Most popular vegetables can be grown in containers, making this an attractive option for people with a shortage of space, physical limitations, or short-sighted homeowner's associations and city governments. Mother Earth News has a nice article on container gardening. Rodale's Organic Life also has a good article on the subject.

One of the most important aspects of gardening is healthy soil. Most food produced by large agricultural conglomerates is nutritionally deficient due to use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. In addition to poisoning the food, these chemicals have rendered the soil dead. According to research conducted by Dr. August Dunning, chief science officer and co-owner of Eco Organics, in order to receive the same amount of iron you used to get from one apple in 1950, by 1998 you had to eat 26 apples! Also, the reason food doesn't taste as good as it used to is also related to the deterioration of mineral content. The minerals actually form the compounds that give the fruit or vegetable its flavor.

Consider using organic/non-GMO heirloom seeds. Seed Savers Exchange, Johnny's Seeds, and Annie's Heirloom Seeds, all have these types of seeds available. These companies have signed the Safe Seed Pledge — a written commitment to sell only non-GM seed — or made public declarations that they will not knowingly sell GM seeds. Don't forget to check which growing zone you are in so you grow the appropriate plants for your area.

When choosing pots, you need to consider size, style, material, and weight, as well as what will be planted in them. Here's a guide to choosing the right size based on what you are growing.

OrganicGuide is a place where you can search for organic - and related - businesses and resources in your local area as well as helpful articles. Another good resource for how-to articles is Mother Earth News and Grow It Organically. There's even Organic Gardening for Dummies.  There's plenty of information and support out there to help you get started, and be successful. 

Until next time...become the change you imagine.

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