The biggest revolution in food over the last decade in the US has been the explosion in the numbers of people growing their own food. According to the National Gardening Association, 35% of households in the US are now growing either at home or in a community garden. That represents a 200% increase over the past ten years with nearly two million more families now gardening on a regular basis than in 2007.

Growing your own food has obvious cost benefits as you’ll be spending less on your grocery bill and can even sell your excess produce on for profit. The main reason for the switch though has come because of people taking a greater interest in where their food comes from and the health benefits that you can get from genuine, organic, homegrown food. Here are some of them.

It’s fresh out of the garden, onto your plate

The ‘fresh’ produce you pick up from a supermarket has been packaged and possibly transported several hundred miles before you even take it off the shelf. It has been manufactured to have the longest shelf life possible. Contrast that with fruit and veg that comes straight from the garden. You can go outside and pick carrots in the morning for carrot soup at lunch. Food doesn’t get any fresher than that, and there is so much you can grow in your garden to give you and your family a balanced diet. If you are looking for inspiration for what you can produce, then preparedness mama have some ideas.

It gets you and the family out and into the garden

It isn’t just the food that comes out of the ground at the end that offers health benefits, but the actual process of growing it as well. You and your family will be out in the garden getting fresh air, exercise and your hands dirty. You’ll also reap the benefits of this exercise and connection with the great outdoors as the fruits of your labor will be there for all to see.

It helps your children get into good habits

The constant battle to get your children close to eating their five a day is one of the ongoing struggles of parenthood. Homegrown food can help. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietician Association found that preschool children who were served homegrown produce were twice as likely to both eat and enjoy their daily quota.

Homegrown food isn’t treated with pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers that 90% of fungicides, 60% of herbicides and 30% of insecticides have the potential to cause cancer. A 1987 National Academy of Sciences report estimated that pesticides could cause an extra four million cancer cases among Americans. By growing your own vegetables, you can guarantee that nothing that you feed to your children or yourself comes into contact with any pesticide.

Growing at home protects water quality

These pesticides used on mass-produced crops often find their way into our nations water supply. The EPA has estimated that 38 states across the country have groundwater contaminated polluted by pesticides. Groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for over half of America.