5 Ways Edible Gardens Support Your Health and LA’s Resilience
March 2, 2020. By Oscar Ortega: Sustainably maintained landscapes protect and boost the health of everyone who enters them. This is even more true when they contain edible gardens.
The act of sustainably growing food for someone demonstrates a certain level of care. It is all the more meaningful when you count the ways it contributes to their life. As we nurture edible gardens, including native gardens full of California native edibles, here is what we hope to contribute.
In day to day life, having favorite herbs, fruits and veggies on hand makes cooking at home a delight. While we’ve not documented the quantity of time saved by growing at home, we can say time spent tending and harvesting compares favorably in quality to time spent at the grocery store. Not to mention, clipping lettuce and edible flowers in the garden is much more fun than pulling them from a plastic bags!
As a culture, we’ve come to think of canned goods and bottled water as the keys to emergency preparedness, but there is a reason we were asked to grow Victory gardens in World War II. Having fresh food on hand can feed our wherewithal through emergencies and enable us to support our neighbors through them too.
Because edible gardens place fresh, healthy produce (almost!) as close as the chips and treats in the pantry, the convenience alone can lead to healthier eating. Even more exciting, there is an abundance of research showing kids love eating produce they produce. We have it on good authority the same is true for adults ;).
Even if we make the “right” food choices in the grocery store, toxins like chemical fertilizers, pesticides and soil contaminants lead to adverse health impacts. By controlling how we nourish and nurture our edible gardens and the landscape that surrounds them, we lessen the toxins we consume and those we send into the world.
There is just no comparison to the taste of a tomato or strawberry from the grocery story and one from a home garden, even when buying organic. Nutrient rich soil, patience, and practices like culling lead to tastier treats! While a benefit in and of itself, this in also leads to healthier eating choices.
In native gardens, edibles can be integrated into the design, as there will be no toxins added to the soil. This makes both planting and harvesting an adventure! In a toxin-free space, harvesting hedges and even lawns can be part of a back-up plan! Foodies and chefs can find further adventure by exploring the wide range of new flavors edible California natives and new recipes offer for experimentation.
We know we couldn’t support LA’s resilience in this way without your interest in making this city even better too. Thank you for the opportunity to do this work!
American Community Garden Association: No room for a garden at home? Check for community gardens!