If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That’s not gallons, but barrels. ~from Oily Food, by Steven Hopp
I grew up with a great big vegetable garden in our back yard. My Mom had me working it religiously during the summer, as we grew copious amounts of cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, corn, raspberries, zucchini and green beans. Late Summer & Fall our kitchen would turn into a factory of sugar, pectin, salt, vinegar, steam, bottles, and boxes. Our pantry cupboards were full of preserved food and I grew up thinking everyone lived the same way. I was wrong.
So, my hereditary excitement of our April 14th Vegetable Workshop should come as no surprise. We’ll be learning how to select the best, most juicy tomato to serve from your family’s dinner table, along with all the possibilities for the best squash, onions, cucumbers and more in any type or size garden space.
SAFETY. Every day we hear still another story about contaminated food. Salmonella, melamine, E. Coli, Listeria, Cyclospera. Ick. Then, according to the EPA, over one-billion tons of pesticides are used on food crops every year! Isn’t it about time we begin to take matters into our own backyards?
SAVE MONEY. A packet of seeds is less than two dollars. From that packet you can produce more food than you can possibly eat. When (and IF) you get tired of eating fresh vegetables from your garden you can preserve or freeze the rest for the winter.
HEALTH. The food you will grow in your own garden will be far healthier and packed with more nutrition than anything you could buy in the store.
EXERCISE. Studies show gardening for one hour can burn upwards of 400 calories. Try that out at the gym! Gardening involves walking, stretching, lifting and bending.
BEAUTY. Vegetable gardens are a beautiful thing. A vegetable garden will add color, texture, smell and life to your yard or balcony.
MENTAL HEALTH. There is something about gazing on a beautiful and bountiful garden. The activity of working the garden can be immensely calming while the splendor you have created can lift the spirit. A vegetable garden can also lend a more spiritual link to life itself. Not only are you participating in the miracle of growth and the changing of the seasons, you will also become intimately linked to the process of nurturing your own life.
LEARN. The more you know, the more you want to know. While fun, gardening can also be quite challenging. Insects or diseases in your plants will drive you to find out how to keep your garden healthy. Research on wind and sun patterns, growing conditions, suitable plants and vegetables you might never have heard of will drive you to fill your head with new knowledge.
Additional Local Resources:
Foothills Farmers’ Market & Placer County Farmer’s Market Schedules
Placer County Real Food Cookbook: how to eat locally 52 weeks of the year
PlacerGROWN: advocating and promoting local agriculture producers & products