“It’s disproportionately satisfying to grow your own produce,” says AIA Vitality Ambassador, environmentalist, polar explorer and veggie-patch aficionado, Tim Jarvis. “There’s nothing quite like going out into the garden and picking something you’ve grown yourself.”
And you don’t need to have a massive backyard to get involved – a container on a balcony, pots along the windowsill, even a few carefully placed hanging baskets are all you need to grow fresh herbs and vegetables at home.
And the benefits are bountiful. When you’re eating home-grown veggies, you’re eating seasonally, a habit that Chinese medicine has long touted as a sure-fire way to help us create balance within our bodies, boost energy and provide clarity. This University of Aberdeen study agrees.
There are environmental benefits, too. Instead of eating veggies that might have been grown on cleared land and have more than their fair share of environmentally-harmful food miles attached to them, your crop will be no more than a few metres from your kitchen. You also know exactly what chemicals or fertilisers – if any – have been used to grow your food.
“The Australian Medical Association, American Medical Association and the WHO all say that climate change is the biggest threat to human health in the 21st century,” Tim explains. “Anything we can do to reduce that, even if it’s something small like growing your own veggies at home, is worth doing. The more we grow ourselves, the less pressure there is to expand the human/agricultural footprint.”
Then there are the physical and mental health benefits…
Gardening is a great exercise in mindfulness, no matter what size space you’re working in. Not only are you out in the sun and breathing fresh air, studies have shown that regular exposure to plants and gardens may be beneficial for our minds and bodies. “Psychologically, growing your own food makes you feel like you’re actively participating in the way the planet functions,” Tim says.
And whether you’re working with an acre block (lucky you!), a balcony, or seemingly no space at all, it’s surprisingly simple to go green. Here’s how to get started: