Your Garden, The Most Local Food of All

April 25th, 2010

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been exposed to the new green trend of “eating local.” The idea behind the movement is that food that is transported less has less of a “carbon footprint” and it is also good to support your local community.

That is all well and good, but as with any “green” thing you sometimes have to wonder if they’re just doing it for the money. Marketing their food as local as a way to sell more of it.

Because, you see, I think that if someone were really advocating for local food they’d recommend the most local food of all, your garden.

Something Trendy This Way Comes

Front Yard Farming
Front Yard Farming

Gardening is becoming more and more popular lately, especially edible gardening. I think it is a perfect storm of the green movement and the recession that has made people think that they will grow their own food to save money.

Just in my little neighborhood I’ve noticed two people put in front yard vegetable gardens. Yes, they are sacrificing their lawn and curb appeal for a fenced in utilitarian vegetable garden, and that is just front yards, I’m sure many more did as much in their backyards where I can’t see.

In a way a front yard farm, as I like to call it, is a beautiful thing in it’s own way, because it is an advertisement for something simple and easily to do, and that if everyone did it, I’m convinced the world would be a better place.

So, Why Grow your Own Food

There are four reasons to grow your own food.

1. It tastes better, seriously. Bananas ripen off the tree and get better with age, but many many foods start losing flavor and sweetness as soon as they’re picked, and also benefit from being allowed to fully ripen on the tree or plant (at which point they’d be too ripe to ship, so you wouldn’t find them in stores).

2. It is better for you. Just as plant flavors change, the nutritional profile does too, almost without fail produce that is fresher has more vitamins and minerals than stuff even a few days old.

3. You save money. You don’t always save money right away, because of the startup cost of starting a garden, but in the long term you certainly do, and with some times like an apple tree the savings can be enormous.

4. You get more variety. At the store your options are limited, even at the most well stocked grocery store. But the variety of available seeds for your planting at home is far larger.

So… how to get started

I’ve written a bunch of articles that should hopefully get you started in growing your own food.

Fall is for Planting Fruit
Grow Potatoes in a Trash Can
Garden for Dollars, Grow Asparagus
How to Build a Raised Bed Vegetable Garden out of Wood
How to Build a Hoop House for Frost Protection
Growing Raspberries
Edible Ornamentals
In addition to all of those, I have compiled guides to growing over 100 different specific food crops, you can find that full list here.

That should get you started, and if you want any help in planning your foray into edible gardening you can post in the forums attached to this site, or comment here. And remember, you don’t need a lot of room to grow some of your own food. You can plant a dwarf apple tree that’ll produce a couple bushels a year in a space as small as 4×4.

10 Responses to “Your Garden, The Most Local Food of All”

  1. The Veggie Lady  Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I heard about some others renovating their front yard to grow produce. It was a movement they called …. full frontal gardening!!

  2. Window On The Prairie  Says:

    I can’t do without my veggie garden. So far this year we have planted potatoes, onions, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, and last night the tomatoes. A little work, but a great big reward.

  3. Oneida  Says:

    It takes time and patience to grow a pretty garden. I missed the squash I grew last year. It was big and nice. Hopefully it wil still be good this year.

  4. coyotemojo  Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. Why waste resources on decorative gardening while spending more and more money at the grocery store? Put in my first raised-bed today and already thinking about more!

  5. Maurizo (  Says:

    This is a very informative post. I think you’re right, with the economy what it is and the increased awareness of environmental concerns, gardening and eating locally grow produce is on the rise. I wonder how long it will take for this to become mainstream in society?

  6. Stacy  Says:

    We have had a backyard garden for two years now and it is fantastic. The produce tastes better and we are more inclined to eat more veggies.

    I hadn’t heard of the front yard gardening, but I can see it becoming more and more popular with the green movement. It makes me think about putting something out front.

  7. Ryan  Says:

    Great idea about optimizing space!

  8. Kimmi  Says:

    I’ve just started my first garden this year, and I’m very excited to see what becomes of it. My 2 year old son has been helping me in it every day, and for the first time ever he is excited to eat vegetables!

  9. Administrator  Says:

    I can’t wait to be able to garden with my son. He is turning 1 this month so it’ll be a little while yet. But you’ve hit on what appears to be a universal truth. Kids are more likely to want to eat something they grow or help grow themselves.

  10. Karina  Says:

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts! It would be nice if the climate where I reside is warm year round. Sadly, we have rough winters where the crops won’t be able to survive through it. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do?

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