Food column: How to grow your own produce

Ella Gilbert July 21, 2014 0
Food column: How to grow your own produce

A 2012 summary of health statistics for the U.S. population found that a majority of Asians were in good health. Results showed that 7 out of 10 Asian people were enjoying excellent health and only 7.5 percent of the Asian population suffered from poor to fair health. This may be attributed to their diet, which can vary vastly between cultures, geographic location in the United States, and individual behaviors.

The Asian community also recognizes the health benefits of organic food, which is free from preservatives and pesticides. Organic food is better for our health and is more eco-friendly, too. There is also growing demand for organic produce in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. The demand for organic food is expanding by a reported 15 percent a year in Southeast Asia alone. However, despite this demand, the majority (around 80 percent) of the organic food that South-East Asia consumes is imported from the likes of Europe and the United States.

Growing organic produce at home can go a long way in becoming more eco-friendly. Indonesia and the Philippines, for example, are making an effort to have the largest designated organic crop growing land in Asia.

It’s important to have a desire for the cleanest, most nutrient-dense diet, free from chemicals and other harmful substances. Avoiding fast, processed food that other areas of the world love. Therefore, they don’t suffer from the health implications that consuming these can produce.

A healthy, eco-friendly diet starts at home, or, more specifically, in the garden. Growing your own fruits and vegetables is incredibly good for you, as you know exactly where your produce is coming from and what chemicals and pesticides—or lack thereof—have gone into the food you intend to consume. Not only this, but growing your own produce costs next to nothing and can minimize food waste—a big contributor to our planet’s carbon emissions.

Firstly you have to plan exactly what you want to grow. What fruit and veggies does your family usually consume? What often goes to waste? You don’t want to spend your time growing produce that you and your family don’t want, so make a shortlist and don’t go too overboard. Think quality, not quantity. This will reduce the risk of food waste. Next, pick out a designated spot in your garden and map it out. Then, within this space, design which vegetables go where. Also do this if you have an allotment.

When it comes to planting your vegetables, do your research as many different requirements depending on how they grow. If you can, pick up your compost from a local recycle center rather than a mainstream garden center; this will be cheaper for you and helpful to your local economy. An even better option would be to grow your own compost, which involves recycling your own food waste in order to reuse it on your new vegetables.

When it comes to harvesting your crops, only pick as many as you need at that time to minimize food waste. If you do have waste, store it in the fridge for the next day for a quick, healthy, cheap lunch.

For more information on How to Make Your Diet Eco-friendly on a Budget, click here

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