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Thursday
May182017

Homegrown Veggies

Do you ever wonder why homegrown vegetables like tomatoes taste so much better than store bought? It's the same reason why you are not seeing improved health even though you are eating more fruits and vegetables, and also why rates of disease are skyrocketing. The answer is in the soil.
 
Modern chemical intensive agriculture relies on synthetic pesticides and fertilizers to promote rapid growth, control pests, and maximize profit. Last year almost 1 pound of pesticide was used per person per year on crops worldwide, and the dose of poisons is nearly 4 times as much in the United States. These are chemicals that cause cancer, neurodegeneration, disrupt our endocrine systems, and destroy the environment. These methods have a detrimental effect on the health of the soil and the bacteria, fungus, insects, and other organisms that inhabit the soil. Our poisoned soil results in crops that look good but have far fewer alkaloid compounds, polyphenols, antioxidants, minerals, and other nutrients that benefit health and nurture our own probiotics.
 
Our food is stored and transported long distances so that it degrades and loses its nutrition by the time it even reaches store shelves.  Not to mention the petroleum and other resources used to transport it.  The only way to change the system and regain our wellness is to vote with our dollar and buy local, organic foods in season and to grow our own.    
 
If you really feel the craving for fruit and summer vegetables during the winter, it will be more nutritious and cheap to buy them in season and preserve them for later. Methods like freezing strawberries, spinach, or peaches are easy and will result in a gain of nutrients and flavor. Canning tomatoes, sauce, or salsas is another great way to enjoy your favorite flavors year round.
  Garden Veggies 16
Now; with the coming of spring, is a great time to fill up on fresh local food like asparagus, strawberries and leafy greens which are packed with nutrients.  Of course the best way to get great produce is to grow your own. You don't have to have a huge garden to enjoy fresh, nutritious food year round. Vegetables like snow peas, carrots and beets will thrive if planted now, before the last frost. Plants like tomatoes are extremely productive in pots and containers.

Adding natural fertilizers like coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, vegetable scraps, and manure to your soil will reward you with increased productivity and better flavor and nutrition, allowing all the health benefits of the fruit to shine.  Avoid synthetic fertilizers and potting mixes like Miracle Gro, which destroy the balance of bacteria and microbes in healthy soil, and therefore impact produce quality.

Make sure to buy heirloom seeds from companies like Baker Creek, Lake Valley, and Botanical Interests; even if you do not save seeds, because they will not be treated with chemicals that are harmful to your soil and affect the nutrition of your crops.

Avoid starters and seeds from big box stores; which are often chemically treated. Even if they are not many of the varieties, including well known ones like "early girl" and "better boy" tomatoes are patented by large companies like Monsanto that destroy the environment for profit.  If you cannot grow your own, be more aware of the source and freshness of your produce. Support local and organic farms, your health will benefit from it.
 
With each bite we change our health and either benefit or degrade the environment. Every time you eat you have an impact on our food system and the world at large. Choose to be more conscious about food and make positive changes that will benefit everyone.    

 

Dane Vander Wall, 
Food Lover

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