Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From the garden to the table

Have you heard of a {recession garden}? These have become quite popular as a way for families to save precious dollars by growing food for their own family during these tough economic times. In fact, {depression gardens} were popular during the Great Depression of the early 1900's. My husband and I recently started our own garden, not necessarily due to the recession but because we've been wanting to start one for a long while and never had the space to do so.

As beginners, we started with a few basics: butterleaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, spinach, peas, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and several different types of herbs. The planning and cultivation process has really been fun. It's amazing how being involved with the production of your own food can be so exciting (at least for our family it is). Sure it takes a little time to cultivate your own food, but the outcomes are quite rewarding.

Since starting the garden just a few weeks ago, we have already grown an abundant crop of lettuce and spinach. The average cost for a head of lettuce (the darker green, more nutritious kind) is near $2, and the spinach runs around $4 for a 6oz package (2 servings). Given that we enjoy a nice hearty vegetable salad with our evening dinner, we know that we're saving quite a deal of money already. Another fantastic benefit is that we have convenient access to fresh, nutritious food. If we want salad for dinner, we just head out into the backyard and gather up some produce and prepare ourselves a delicious and nutritious salad. The other advantage that we have to growing our own food is that we know exactly how it's being produced. We know that our food is being produced organically (that is, without the use of conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or sewage sludge). And we can produce our food organically for a FRACTION of the cost of the organic produce in the market, which can sometimes cost up to 50% more than conventionally produced foods. Another benefit is that our daughter will be exposed to gardening. I know that the food preferences of young children really start in the home, and I love knowing that she is going to know where food comes from (not a box, package, or container and not a store, etc.). She'll get to see the food go from seed to plant to the table, and she will (hopefully) be more likely to eat and enjoy these nutritious foods. In fact, she has finally tried and liked her first taste of raw spinach fresh from the garden. Lastly, anyone who knows me knows that I'm always looking for ways to incorporate more activity into my day.
Cultivating a garden and harvesting and preparing our own produce gives us an opportunity to burn more calories throughout the the tune of 272 calories/hour for a 150 lb person!

I encourage you to give the recession garden some serious consideration. Based on my positive experience in such a short time, I say that the benefits are quite worth it.

Happy planting!

The fruits of our labor!


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