Lettuce and tomatoes
I always hated tomatoes. The joke in my house was to make BLTs but hold the T—until I tasted tomatoes grown in a backyard organic garden in the heart of Los Angeles. What a difference. Keep the T in those BLTs! Just make sure they’re homegrown, from an organic garden.
One night, a friend who really appreciates food was over for dinner. He was amazed at the salad I served—all greens from the backyard. “It tastes so alive!” he said. And of course it did. I’d picked them fresh just a few hours before we ate them.
This is the result of a backyard organic garden.
An organic garden and the value of your real estate
A realtor friend told me several years back that she closed a house sale because there was a raised garden bed in the backyard. Nothing was planted, but the buyers liked the idea of having a raised bed in place for an organic garden.
This same friend sold her own home last year. It was a tiny house, but the entire yard, front and back, was terraced food beds and established fruit trees. The house was on the market for a couple of days only, and they closed for about $40K above their asking price. The one condition was that they had to leave their garden equipment behind.
Knowing how your food is sourced
With the advent of genetically modified plants and pesticide-poisoned produce, there is a huge upswing in the revolt against inferior quality food. Interest in urban gardening is exploding as more city folk go back to their roots by growing their own. This movement is the opportunity to recover control over the quality of what we eat.
The safest food you can eat is the food you grow—assuming of course that you use organic gardening methods.
If you can’t grow your own, the next best source of produce is going to be your local farmers market or CSA. Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) is that box of fresh produce that gets delivered to your door for a weekly or monthly subscription fee. It’s a convenient way to go as long as the box doesn’t end up sitting on your front porch all day and wilting.
I personally prefer my local farmers markets. I’m lucky to live in an area where I have multiple options on different days of the week. But even with the farmers markets, I take the time to get to know the vendors. There are some vendors who aren’t certified organic (an expensive proposition), but who use organic practices.
Better than barter
Another great way to find fresh, healthy produce is to join a food swap. Swapping or sharing isn’t barter, but actually something better—especially if you, like me, hate the idea of wasting food just on principle.
There are groups all around the country that promote swapping or giving away your excess fruits and veggies, and even baked goods and eggs, with other like-minded folks. I personally belong to a Residential In-season Produce Exchange (RIPE) group. No money is exchanged, ever, with this group. Members post what they have too much of free for the taking, with no expectation of return. Once a month the group meets up and everyone brings something. But you can also go empty-handed and come home with a bag full of whatever happens to be in season.
Hunting around online, I found one interesting site in beta test: Ripenear.me. I suspect that if I’d looked a little harder, I’d find a whole lot more. There are also a number of apps for both iPhone and Android springing up: localcarrot.com, and cropswapapp are a couple.
The revolution is growing
There is a way to regain control of our dinner plates. We don’t have to be victims of Big Agra and their destructive practices. But it requires a little thought and research on your part.
It’s time to step up and grow your own, support local small farms, and get to know that neighbor with the fruit trees who might need a little help harvesting.
You’ll find the results to be rewarding!
To learn more about organic gardening, get The Dirt on Organic Gardening Magazine. Over 50 back issues available!
– Su Falcon, Editor in Chief
The Dirt on Organic Gardening Magazine