Why Grow Our Own Food?
It's so easy to just buy from the supermarket. Why grow food at home?
Because we want…
Why is there a huge national trend toward eating locally grown food? For one thing, more people realize that fresh, local food tastes better than food that's picked too soon and stored too long in warehouses and shipping containers. Ask any good chef. There is no substitute for just-picked-off-the-vine taste. And there is nothing fresher and more local than food grown 8 feet from your kitchen door.
Produce picked fresh from your garden is the most nutritious. Moreover, it's free from industrial food contamination, toxic imports and additives linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hyperactivity, allergies and many more chronic diseases.
If you're actively tending a garden, you're getting the kind of exercise people pay the gym for. Just having a food garden at home will draw you outside more. Children will spend more time outdoors when a kid-friendly garden sparks their imagination.
What happens when you BUY lettuce and don't get around to using it? It starts to rot. A week later, it's a sad, wilted blob in a plastic bag. You discard it. Money down the drain.
But what happens when you PLANT lettuce and don't get around to using it? It keeps growing! A week later, it's still in the garden, fresh and crisp as ever, and there's more of it. Time working for you, not against you.
And you don't need rigid plastic tubs and plastic bags to walk your just-picked vegetables from your garden to your kitchen. No wasteful, polluting packaging to trash our beaches and clog our landfills.
Who should decide what you put in your body? YOU should. Not a corporate board beholden to its investors. If you really want to eat 2-phenylphenol, that's your choice. But let's say you don't want to ingest this persistent, carcinogenic fungicide with your cucumber salad. You'll have to step way out of our mainstream global food system to avoid it.
When you grow your own food, you take back control of (at least some of) your family's diet. You become the producer, not just the consumer. You know what you planted and what you put on it. You can stop being lab rats in the great industrial food experiment. It's a powerful feeling and a giant step toward a healthier, more conscious lifestyle.
Because we can!
Wherever you live in Hawaii, if you have access to sunlight and water, you can grow food. And that's just about all of us. Thanks to our county water supply boards, water flows reliably to our homes. Thanks to The Almighty and our favorable geographic coordinates, the sun shines down on us year-round, free of charge. Every one of us can put these two precious gifts together to create pure life-sustaining nourishment. We can start right now.
Who says food has to come from mega-farms? It doesn't. Yards of every shape and size can grow food. If grass, landscape plants or weeds grow in your yard, food plants can, too. A skillful hand can get food growing even on a high-rise lanai or an urban rooftop. Knowledge and creativity are more important than acreage.
And because we must.
The people best equipped to weather an economic crisis - or any crisis - are those with the basic skills for self-sufficiency. Growing food is surely one of the most basic, as is its corollary, cooking from scratch. Too bad we needed a global recession to bring these two skillsets back into vogue.
Food gardening is not just a hobby - it's an economic imperative.
Industrial agriculture, including industrial organic, uses fossil fuels at every step, from the fertilizer in the ground to the refrigerated truck to plastic packages their products come in. When you grow your own, you can eliminate petroleum from your food chain. Your fresh, local harvest strikes a blow for Hawaii's energy independence.
Two facts about America's food supply make us extremely vulnerable:
For Hawaii, the need is even more urgent. Roughly 80% of our food is imported. Even if we could count on steady off-shore production (which we can't), our reliance on the delivery system puts us at risk. What if the ships stopped coming? It can happen. In 2008, Aloha Airlines and DHL abruptly folded. Delivery systems that failed. We islanders must take back the power to feed ourselves. Every gardener makes Hawaii more secure.
Humus rich soils, full of organic matter can sequester tons of carbon, quite literally - and grow the best vegetables. We reduce our carbon emissions when we don't have to drive to the store to buy fossil fuel-dependant food.
In a changing world, the ability to grow food, to share and enjoy it, and to live in a healthy world full of beautiful gardens may be the best legacy we can leave our children and grandchildren.