The best thing about growing your own food is the intimacy you have with your plants. This is something most people disconnected with their food will probably laugh at, unless they try it – who can be close to a plant? But when every morning you walk around the garden, taking note as to what the progress it has made, you come to know every leaf, tendril, and fruit. Are the tomatoes ripening yet? Do I need to help pollinate the watermelons? Can I see the corn tassels emerging yet?
A lot of people think that gardening and growing your own food is a lot of work. It isn’t. Sure it takes some effort, but it is hardly the back-breaking work that some lead you to believe. People with busy lives and jobs still manage to grow a good amount of food.
There’s something beautiful in knowing food for its entire life. Many people do not have that luxury and are disconnected from their food source. There’s nothing like helping pollinate your watermelons in the early morning haze, watching the finger-nail sized melon grow into a whole melon, and then the prize: eating it! Tomatoes have never tasted better when you eagerly watch the fruit ripening on the vine every day, pruning regularly to achieve health, and then finally getting to pick the warm fruit and eat it fresh off the vine. No worry of pesticides because you nurtured the fruit and know exactly what’s in it.
The ultimate gift of the home garden though, is feeding others. No matter how small a garden is, there’s often more than enough to share and give to others. When your hard work goes to feed the food pantry, when you make a salad entirely with ingredients from your garden for a BBQ, or when you just give bags of produce to friends – the simple act of giving your hard work and seeing the people’s smiles and surprise is worth all the effort.