Being a parent isn’t always easy, especially in this day and age. The number of food insecure households is on the rise, with 49 million Americans struggling to put food on the table. This has led to an increase in the use of food banks and pantries, with one in seven now relying on these organizations to feed themselves and their family.
These figures are shocking and demonstrate a real issue with hunger in working families. Food banks are not just being used to help feed the hungry, but also to ensure that families have access to fresh produce, with some doctors even using their help to ‘prescribe’ fresh fruits and vegetables to families in need.
While these figures are worrying, they are not surprising. Following the credit crunch and an increase in the price of fresh foods, it is no wonder that families are struggling to provide their children with healthy and nutritious food.
While food banks have made a big difference to families across North America, other solutions could help provide people with the fresh produce they need. Here are some reasons you should consider growing your own food, even if you live in a city.
Supermarket vs. Homegrown
Everyone know that it’s important to feed their children fresh fruit and vegetables, but these days, that’s easier said than done. How many kids prefer veggies over the multitude of sweet and salty packaged snacks out there?
Fresh foods aren’t exactly the easy or cheap option for parents, especially when experts at Consumer Reports advise that you go organic, which costs an average of 49% more compared to standard produce.
Going organic does have its benefits. If you, like 85% of Americans, are concerned about the number of pesticides in your foods, you have a right to be concerned. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the average person in the United States has 29 pesticides in their body. So, organic is better for your kids’ health, as well as the environment.
Of course, not everyone can afford it, which is why more of us should consider growing our own produce. Urban agriculture is gaining momentum, with more and more people seeing the benefits it provides.
Home-grown foods are not just cheaper; they are also often tastier and more nutritious. Why do you think so many gourmet chefs have their own gardens? The journey from soil to supermarket means the produce loses some of its nutritional value, gets packed with chemical preservatives and is often artificially ripened using ethylene. Do we really want more chemicals in our kids? No thanks!
Getting your kids involved
We’ve already seen several benefits of home-grown foods; they’re cheaper, more nutritious and contain fewer pesticides than the store-bought variety. However, the process itself also provides you with an excellent opportunity to educate your children.
Teaching your kids about what is in the food they eat and where food comes from will help them to make better food choices growing up and as adults. They will gain a better understanding of the process of growing food and how this differs from what you find in supermarkets.
Not just that, but you get a chance to explain to them how growing your own food helps towards the sustainability of our planet. It doesn’t produce greenhouse emissions, and it is free from chemicals and pesticides that negatively affect soils and waterways. You can even recycle your waste to make compost and further reduce your carbon footprint.
Plus, gardening is an excellent family activity. It offers you a great chance to bond with your kids while doing a relaxing and stress-lowering form of exercise. So many children nowadays spend most of their time indoors, living a sedentary lifestyle. Get them outside and doing something that is great for their health.
Once you have managed to grow some fruit or vegetables, you and your kids will feel a great sense of accomplishment. You are teaching them about responsibility in caring for plants, self-confidence with achieving their goals, reasoning, and discovery through learning about the science of plants, the environment, nutrition and even simple construction, as well as a love of nature. We can pass on skills that have helped previous generations cope with both economic and climatic disasters. What more could you ask for?