Consider Joining The Local Food Economy
By Chris Stevens
There are a lot of ways to experience gardening! Some people just want to purchase garden-fresh produce. Others want a garden that feeds their family. Still others would love to have their garden pay for itself. But many people enjoy gardening so much that they would love to have it replace their job. Agriscaping helps all of these folks in a variety of ways, but we especially love helping enthusiasts turn their yard into an elegant, edible, income-generating masterpiece.
Why participate in the local food economy? Fresh is best! Most food travels an average of 1500 miles to reach your grocery store. As Justin Rohner says, “I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel fresh after 1500 miles.” Produce is picked before it’s ripe so it’s firmer to better survive the trip.
Because fresh produce is more likely to be ripe, it also tastes better. Fruits and vegetables don’t reach their most nutritious state until they are ripe, and the nutrients start deteriorating as soon as they’re picked, so fresh is also more nutritious. For example, strawberries lose most of their vitamin C within a day or two of being picked.
Another little-known fact is that plants growing in healthy, living soil have the ability to produce a variety of phytochemicals (phyto = plant) on demand to ward off pests, fight disease, and cope with environmental stressors (eg. extreme hot and cold) – all without synthetic chemical inputs that kill the soil, making plants dependent on them. Phytochemicals benefit us in similar ways when we eat them. In other words, locally produced phytochemicals help us better cope with local conditions. Culinary and medicinal herbs are especially loaded with beneficial phytochemicals.
The local food economy also helps provide incomes for local families, maybe including yours. The stronger the local food economy is, the more local food security there is. According to Business Insider, grocery stores would run out of food in just three days if long-haul trucking stopped. How would your community fare? Perhaps this is the biggest reason to grow the local food economy.
What stores, restaurants, farmers, or markets sell locally produced food in your area? By purchasing, volunteering, and networking with local growers and sellers, you gain useful knowledge and help build your food security. Why not become a contributor as well? Regardless of anything else that happens, people always need to eat and food brings people together.
What’s your next step?
Chris Stevens is the founder of Sabbatical Ranch and Resilient Agriscaping in the mountainous highlands of Arizona and is available for virtual consultations worldwide. Want to save enormous amounts of time and money instead of wasting it on trial and error? It all starts with an Initial Productivity Assessment & Consultation customized to your landscape.
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