Once upon a time, before the rise of the industrial food complex, humans all over the world grew and gathered their own food. Today, with the invention of many new farming technologies and transportation systems, along with the rapid growth of urban populations, humans no longer have the same understanding of their food or where it comes from. Given how busy our lives tend to be, this comes as no surprise. As we dash from one activity to the next, the grocery store is simply another box to check off on the to-do list and, rarely do we stop to consider how the food actually got there in the first place!
The advantages to growing our food with natural, organic, and regenerative methods (locally, if possible) far outweigh any alleged benefits claimed by the industrial food system. Going “back to the basics” when it comes to food production is:
- more cost-effective;
- provides access to fresher, better-tasting and more nutritious produce;
- reduces food and packaging waste;
- cuts carbon emissions from transportation;
- reduces usage and consumption of dangerous fertilizers and pesticides;
- creates healthier soil;
- promotes better gut health; and
- increases vitamin D levels (from working outside).
By growing our own food, we open the door to transforming ourselves on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Not to mention, growing our own food would eliminate or vastly decrease so many of the environmentally-destructive practices that have become commonplace today, including aridification, animal agriculture, monocropping, pesticide/chemical usage, etc.
How cool would it be to relate to the natural world in a way you are more in tune with local weather patterns, creature habits, changing temperatures, sunlight, soil, and the different growing seasons? In Charlottesville, we have many options that are superior to purchasing all of your food from a supermarket. Primarily, the farmer’s market (all spring, summer, and fall) gives you a chance to get to know local farmers and learn about their growing methods. Most farms offer free tours and are more than happy to show you around. There are also three different community gardens, in which you can get a garden plot for just about $30/year. Also, you can always choose to support local business that use discretion in their ingredients and sourcing...don’t forget to ask!