In order for you to understand why growing your own vegetables is a good idea, let me explain how the many changes to the farming methods came about.
It used to be that when growing your own vegetables, you would plant seeds in organically enriched soil, rotate your vegetables so that the soil would not become depleted of specific nutrients, and store some for the winter.
However, as farming methods changed so did people’s habits change from growing your own vegetables to buying vegetables from big stores, fully trusting that these vegetables were as nutrient filled as the vegetables they would eat when they were kids. However, this is not the case.
After World War 11, new conventional farming techniques spearheaded by large companies were to drastically change the way farmers grow their crop. As a result, today’s vegetables that we buy off the shelf (unless certified organic) are not as nutrient-filled as they should be and, more than not, are laced with insecticide or pesticide.
Let me explain what happened to farming methods during these last 50+ years, why these new farming method do not provide the same quality of vegetable as we had when we were growing up back before the 60′s.
1: Growing your own vegetables by using the mixed farming/crop rotation method was replaced by growing only one type of vegetable over and over again in the same soil.
Farmers had bought into the idea that instead of following the idea of growing your own vegetables, it would be more profitable to plant huge fields of one crop and use more synthetic fertilizers which companies and government claimed were just as good as compost . . . that in the end the cost of the fertilizer would be offset by selling more produce.
2. Organic Compost was replaced by “special” synthetic chemical-based granular fertilizers.
However, when the farmers began abandoning mixed farming and growing your own vegetables in favor of growing huge crops of only one, maybe two, types of vegetable, the soil was slowly being depleted of much needed nutrients. The soil was not being replenished with supplemental nutrients since fertilizing with organic compost/good old fashion manure and crop rotation had been eliminated.
To make matters worse, the new synthetic fertilizers did not replenish the soil with all necessary micronutrients and macronutrients neither, so each farmer’s crop has become less healthy, has fewer nutrients in them, and certainly doesn’t taste like the ones “Gramma used to grow”.
3: By using the new modern methods of synthetic chemical-based fertilization instead of growing your own vegetables and using organic soil amendments, farmers need to do excessive spraying as crops become less healthy. Why?
It’s a well-known fact that any vegetable which is less than healthy gets attacked more frequently by insects or fungus; therefore, to keep their crops from being destroyed and/or looking good for the consumer, these big farmers have no choice but to spray more often with insecticide and/or pesticides.
People growing your own vegetables used methods which kept the vegetables healthier and filled with nutrients; therefore, these vegetables were less vulnerable to insect or fungus attack. Obviously these new methods could not yield the same quality of healthy vegetables.
4: Many big farmers are forced to use chemical fertilizers instead of the organic fertilizer.
My brother knew some of these farmers very well and one day he asked one of them, “Why on earth do farmers use such junk?”
The farmer answered, “ Composted cattle manure is hard to ‘come by’ because cattle farmers hang onto it. The vegetable farmers who do not own cattle have no choice but to buy this fertilizer!”
He went on to explain that most farmers have very little money so cannot afford to buy compost by the ton; hence, they must resort to this chemical-based cheaper fertilizer.
All this is not good news for the consumer, us, who, not realizing to what degree the quality of the vegetables had deteriorated, had turned to buying instead of growing your own vegetables.
For the longest time, the consumer did not realize they were part of a vicious circle. . . . 1) vegetables lacking more and more in nutrients and 2) insecticide/pesticide on our food and spreading in our water table. No wonder cancer and other disease is rampant!
And now for the worst news of all . . .
5. I first became aware of this in January, 2010. Big companies in the US are trying to force farmers to buy and plant GENETICALLY ALTERED SEEDS in their fields/gardens. They want the government to pass a bill which would outlaw organic gardening even in a person’s backyard!
If these companies get their way via certain bills passed at the government level, the farmers would be in a terrible predicament: use genetically altered seeds or lose their farms; use synthetic fertilizers bought from these companies . . .. Just like the song: “I owe my soul to the company store.”
For a better understanding, you may want to watch the documentary “The Future of Our Food”.
As I was viewing this video, the part about how big companies are planning to sell seeds which have been genetically altered to self destruct after one year of growth made me feel really sorry for the farmers as well as for us consumers!
How will farmers be able to survive? How will we survive if we are not allowed to choose our seeds when growing your own vegetables ? How can seeds be saved for the following year’s crop if they are to self-destruct? How are these plants growing from genetically altered seeds going to affect our health?
To read more about the drawbacks of genetically modified seeds and view the video explaining why the farmers are so extremely concerned and worried, go to Genetically Modified Foods Vs Organic Foods, which was written when certain groups in the US wanted to outlaw organic farming and even outlaw growing your own vegetables in your own back yard.
6. Here’s one last proof that one should either buy organically grown vegetables or grow your own vegetables .
The David Suzuki Foundation released a document, “The Food We Eat” — An International Comparison of Pesticide regulations, October 2006.
Here’s a part of what it says:
“The Foundation made the claim that Canada’s pesticide regulations are among the weakest in the industrialized world. Sixty chemicals used in 1,130 pesticide products are banned in other western industrialized nations, they say.
However, in 2007 Canada’s maximum residue limits on food are significantly lower than the US, the European Union, and Australia.
Canada reports a 10 percent residue on fresh fruit and vegetables, as compared to the US which reports 76 percent.”
~ CFA-Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Currents Events, “CFA Environment and Science Activities” (September 2007) /// http://www.cfa-fca.ca/pages/index.php?main_id=335
Hopefully there is an improvement in that area since 2007. However,I can’t help but wonder: “How much insecticide/pesticide residual are we swallowing as we eat our vegetables bought at the grocery store? ….. and who knows what else we are swallowing!”
Wouldn’t it be to our advantage to return to growing your own vegetables so that you are able to make sure that you are planting non-gmo seeds (i.e. using organic seeds instead) in a healthy soil well supplemented with compost or manure so that very little or no spraying with insecticides/pesticides is needed?
It only makes sense to either buy organically grown vegetables or if at all possible, take a patch of land around the house, add lots of home made compost or manure or both, and begin growing your own vegetables . . .delicious, nutritious, and healthier vegetables . . . in your own little garden.
Through many years of gardening, Marcie has learned that organic gardening is the best way to grow delicious, nutrient-filled vegetables. You can get the complete story about why grow your own vegetables at http://organicvegetablegardeningguide.com/blog/growing-your-own-vegetables/