Taking Root #24

Top 10 Reasons to Grow Your Own

By Gini Bramlett

For the Calapooia Food Alliance

In today’s chemical-laden world, with so many preservatives, toxins and things we can’t even pronounce in our food, it constantly amazes me that more people aren’t growing their own vegetable gardens. There are dozens of reasons for doing so, but borrowing David Letterman’s “Top Ten Reasons” concept, I offer some food for thought.

Here we go:

  1. Convenience – What can be easier than stepping out the back door to gather lettuce, radishes, tomatoes and herbs for a dinner salad? I love the ability to decide on what I’ll make based simply on what’s ready in the garden.
  2. Self Sufficiency – Being able to take care of your family without depending on a local grocery store is something to think about. I like knowing that if we lose power for days – and it happens more than you might think – I can feed still feed my family. Think what could happen if we had an earthquake (that’s a real possibility in Northwest) and transportation was cut off for an extended period of time. How long do you think the grocery shelves would remain full?
  3. Selection – Shopping in big box stores offers a mere fraction of the selection of produce available. Commercial produce is selected based on long term storage and the ability to travel long distances without a blemish. If you haven’t perused a seed catalog for awhile, you might want to take a gander at the vast selection. Every imaginable flavor, color, size and type is available simply by placing an order or stopping at a local garden center.
  4. Health – There’s not a lot we can do on daily basis about the polluted air we breathe, but we can control what we put into our bodies; and that is fresh, chemical-free food. The easiest way is to grow a garden in your back yard. It needn’t be complicated either. Just choose the veggies your family likes best and plant some seeds in good soil. Some easy plants to grow are lettuces, beans and cucumbers.
  5. Money Saver – A head of lettuce at the grocery store can cost as much as an entire package of seeds, which can grow dozens of heads with little effort other than watering. Even purchasing “starts” such at a farmer’s market, is a huge saving on buying lettuce of unknown origin at the grocery store.
  6. Exercise – No one can argue the value of getting outside, breathing fresh air and doing a little physical work in the garden.
  7. Gratification – That feeling you get from providing your family with the freshest, healthiest produce available is hard to beat.
  8. Sharing – Nothing beats the looks on someone’s face when handed a fresh head of lettuce or a crispy bunch of fresh-picked carrots. I love sharing my bounty. Every week when I visit my elderly parents in Eugene, I bring whatever there is an abundance of at the moment. It always brings a smile.
  9. Easy – Growing vegetables is not rocket science. At the very basic, dropping a plant in the ground and keeping it watered is not that difficult. Buying healthy organic seedling at the farmer’s market is as simple as a stop downtown.
  10. And the # 1 reason to grow your own vegetable garden: Taste – Freshly harvested, homegrown produce just tastes better. So much has been manipulated for ease of transportation and long term storage in commercial produce, that flavor has been sadly sacrificed.

The Brownsville Farmer’s Market sells locally-grown veggies, fruits and berries all summer and into fall. This year, the market will take place on Thursdays from 3pm-7pm rather than Saturdays. In an informal survey, both customers and potential vendors expressed their desire to have weekends with their families finding it difficult to make it to the Saturday morning market. We listened and we heard.

Our “Starts” market, however, will remain on Saturday mornings beginning April 25.

Community Garden

Seasonal rent for a 10 x 13 foot developed plot is $20; a 15 x 30 foot plot is $30; and a 15 x 40 foot plot is $40. All gardeners have access to on-site leaf mulch, compost, water and tools if available.

For more information, call Garden Manager, Ally Maser, at 303-726-5719 or email her at gardens@gocfa.org.

Munch Night

Munch Night for March will be held at the Corner Café in Brownsville on Friday, March 27 at 6pm. A homemade meal and a thought-provoking film will be offered for a $10 donation. Bring your own place settings, glasses and utensils.



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