But why grow your own?

Ok, so right now with seeds not doing the right thing and fighting a cold and dreading the return to winter weather, with all the mud that will involve, I ask myself, why do I bother?

It’s neater, cleaner and easier – not to mention warmer! to go buy the vegetables that we need from our awesome local greengrocer. Admittedly, they aren’t organic, but they are commited to sourcing as much from local growers as possible, and have signs over everything, telling you where it is from. This lets the consumer make the choice, which is a great step forwards.

However, I have come up with a few reasons why we will persevere.

1.  I am excited to get the family more involved in where their food comes from, and then they will appreciate good food even more. This is especially important with teenage boys, who would live on junk food if I let them, and many MANY of their schoolmates do.

2.  I need gentle physical outlets that don’t tax my body too much. A small vegie garden, with willing helpers for the heavy stuff, fits the bill nicely. We won’t be supplying all that we need for the whole year from this garden, but we will be making steps.

3.  Maybe the most important reason…..

In 2009 the US Food and Drug Administration released an alarming report into the hazards associated with Chinese imports. Toxic dyes and colourings in sauces and lollies, industrial bleach used to whiten noodles, and excessive levels of pesticide residues in fresh fruit and vegetables were just some of the concerns raised. Garlic was rejected on the grounds that it was decomposing, mouldy and fouled with filth from insects. Countries such as Japan, Europe and the US have frequently rejected imported food from China.

According to AUSVEG, who represent Australian vegetable and potato growers, Chinese imports into Australia are on the rise and only 5% of imports are checked by AQIS for chemical residue.

Caroline Trevorrow, Diggers Club

I have a very good friend, with 3 small children, who laughs at me when I object to food on the supermarket shelves from all over the world. I tell her that I have problems when my food has travelled further than I ever have. Between the scary facts about how imported food is treated, the food miles that are needed to transport that tiny cheap packet of biscuits etc, and the fact that more and more jobs are being lost as manufacturers push their businesses overseas, which then compounds the problem.

We will pay more for food that is made in Australia, and bonus points if the original produce (wheat, tomatoes etc) was grown here. Someone has to draw the line, and for the last year, we have kept to it very well. There are some things that I am struggling to source. Tins of coconut cream for example, but we are mostly doing without what we can’t buy now.

So I am posting this to remind myself, on those grey and miserable winter days, that there is a very good reason, or 3 why we are doing this. To get off my backside and go plant, tend or harvest something, and make sure that we stay in touch with the natural system that is supporting us.

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