17 Apr 2017
Having a kitchen garden on my office rooftop is probably the best thing that has happened in my life. No matter how little space you have, growing your own food has many benefits, even if it means having a small pot of herbs on your kitchen window sill. If dipping your fingers into the earth seems too much of a stretch, this may help you change your mind.
1. You save space
Acres of forest are razed every year, and there is a constant battle between man and Nature. With the human population growing every second, the earth is heaving under pressure from our cities. Growing food in urban spaces, terraces and rooftops is a natural step towards sustainability.
2. Food is truly organic and fresh
Though groceries sold at organic stores should ideally be certified, in most cases they are sold on the basis of ‘trust’ with no formal certification. Growing your own vegetables can guarantee that you are truly eating organic. Also, since your produce is going straight from your garden to your frying pan, it couldn’t be fresher. And tastier.
3. Your carbon footprint shrinks
Most of the vegetables and fruits that we pick up from our city stores usually travel a long way from the farm — first to a wholesaler, then to a retailer’s warehouse and then to a retail store. Not to mention your car journey to the store from your home. Growing your own vegetables can considerably reduce this ugly carbon footprint.
4. You avoid wasteful packaging
“But I carry my own cloth shopping bag to the store!” you may say. To facilitate transportation, fresh produce is packaged in various materials like cardboard boxes, plastic sacks, plastic boxes, and a lot of other packaging material, depending on the nature of the item. Growing your own food can help avoid this mess.
5. It’s a fun family activity
Children of this generation are unaware of where their food comes from. Involving children and other family members in the maintenance of the garden makes it not only a fun family activity, but also educates the future generation more about where their food comes from.
6. You waste less food
Since you and your family members have put your heart and soul into the garden, and have seen how long it takes to grow, you instinctively tend to leave less uneaten food on your plate.
7. You support a mini ecosystem
Having a garden at home will start bringing in many beautiful winged visitors, like bees, butterflies and birds, which are essential for pollination and balancing the fragile ecosystem.
Having your own kitchen garden will also start building a community of friends and relatives who would like to visit your garden, providing more fodder for conversation.
8. It promotes composting and segregation
A good organic garden needs good organic compost. Though you can start by buying compost from a nursery the best way would be to segregate your garbage at home and compost your kitchen waste. It’s an amazing circle of life, where the food that you grow in your garden can be composted to nurture the very same garden.
9. You save money
Setting up your garden the first time may require you to spend a little on pots, mud, saplings and other material. But once your garden is set, over time, there is no major expenditure, and your harvest is your bonus. Fresh flowers and vegetables from your garden also make great gifts while visiting friends and family, so you save some money there too!
10. It’s good all-round: for the body, mind and soul
Growing your own food means you are eliminating a large chunk of pesticides and other dangerous chemicals from what you eat. Also, working in your garden is great physical activity, along with being an effective stress-buster. It creates a strong sense of connection between you and nature.
Sruti Harihara Subramanian is a National Award-winning filmmaker and an eco-entrepreneur