Why garden? Why grow your own food?

I’ve been mulling this question for several week now, first as I prepared for an indoor seed starting workshop, and now as I contemplate another public presentation.  Why do I garden?  What makes it so satisfying?  I have always been almost compelled to grow my own veggies, from the first small garden where I grew tiny stunted carrots and potatoes too small to be called new potatoes (delicious baked in my Easy Bake Oven) but why?

I am considering submitting a proposal to speak at a PechaKucha Night about gardening.  I recently heard Pech Kucha described as a concert of ideas — great analogy!  It began in Japan as a networking event, and has grown to become a worldwide phenomenon.  It offers networking, idea sharing, community building, and so much more.  Check out the website for more examples, but the basic model is that presenters get 20 images and 20 seconds per image to share their ideas.  A PechaKucha Night will feature 8-10 presenters and a reception for presenters and audience.

So tell me, why do you garden?  What is it that drives your passion to dig, haul, plan, stoop, dig, pull, fret, and finally, pick and eat?  To boil giant pots of water in a steamy August kitchen and can your veggies?  To pick and can and blanch and freeze and do it again  and again until the frost makes it stop?

I really hope I hear from lots of people.  Please!

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10 Responses to “Why garden? Why grow your own food?”

  1. Vickie Says:

    I do it because I love the feeling of knowing where my food came from. I was the only one to touch the seed. Put it into the ground. I weeded it, watered it. I know nothing was sprayed on it. I know what is in my soil, my compost, my water. It is such a wonderful feeling to serve a plate of food that was raised by my own hands and so naturally.

  2. Teresa Noelle Roberts Says:

    Food independence, flavor, and getting my husband to eat vegetables. He’s now expanded to veggies from the farmers’ market, but my homegrown tomatoes were the first step in luring him out of his “veggies? yuck!” mindset.

  3. Emily Says:

    I enjoy the way it draws me to spend time outside, be aware of the weather, the seasons, the wonder of creation. I also love the ways it expands my vegetable eating and has brought me to eat more seasonally, as in ‘what needs to be eaten out of the garden now’ or ‘what do I have stored up that we should use’. Plus I like the feeling of providing for ourselves in some way. It’s exciting when most of a dinner came from our backyard.

  4. Lou Murray, Ph.D. Says:

    Ali, good question. My answer was too long for a comment, so I made a post today on the topic. Basically, it’s in my genes. It connects me to the land and my ancestors, gives me a greater variety of fresher produce, and promotes food security and food safety. Bottom line is that it makes me HAPPY!

  5. Jennifer Fisk Says:

    I garden for a lot of reasons not the least of which is the satisfaction of opening the freezer in January and know I grew that food. I like knowing that my veggies were raised without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. I like knowing my veggies and meats were raised ethically and haven’t made a long journey to my freezer. I love stepping out the door to pick some spinach or broccoli for my omelet. Bottom line is it just feels right.

  6. S Says:

    I knew if i came back later there would be thoughtful comments–looking forward to seeing what everybody writes!

    Like Emily I like how gardening teaches me about the cycle of the seasons and just basic life–and now I feel a part of that system. Also–gardening really was what taught me how to cook and love food, so now it’s integral in my diet and eating habits. And I think like everybody, there’s a little bit of a control issue: in knowing where much of my food comes from, but also having a little piece of the planet that is peaceful and healthy, and (relatively) not-crazy, when the rest of the world can sometimes seem chaotic.

  7. Ali Says:

    Great responses so far, they certainly resonate with my reasons. “Bottom line is it makes me happy”… well said, Lou! It sure does.

  8. kitsapfg Says:

    So many reasons. The primary reason is that I feed my family with the freshest, most nutrient dense food that is possible. It happens to be more delicious for those reasons as well – fresh, well grown food does indeed taste much better. I know exactly what went into the growing of my food (or more importantly – what did not go into it). I know that my vegetables and the fruit I produce help reduce the food miles on my plate (much of our food is from the 100 foot diet because it comes from our own property) rather than traveling the average distance of most of our food which is 1,500 miles to get to our plate. I love the doing part of growing a large portion of our food – being outside regularly, the physical work involved, and living more in tune with the cycle of the seasons is good for the physcial and mental well being of anyone. And finally, I have to say that I think a working kitchen garden is a thing of beauty. The utility alone is beautiful, but a well cared for vegetable and fruit garden can be very attractive and a pleasant place to just hang out.

  9. jennie stevens Says:

    I couldn’t eat the stuff I grew I got too personal with the plants talking to them, encouraging them, taking pride in their progress then you are supposed to chop them up and eat them… nooooo

  10. Ali Says:

    Thanks to all who took the time for a thoughtful response. I have decided to skip the PechaKucha for a variety of reasons, but I appreciate your answers.

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