The Farm to Table movement has become increasingly common. Many restaurants are now offering menus that change anywhere from weekly to each season depending on what local fruits, vegetables and grain crops are available. Markets like Whole Foods now carry produce and meat picked up daily from local farms. The same practice is now moving away from the commercial world and into many homes that once purchased processed foods on a weekly basis.
Is this a new fad? Most definitely not. For centuries families in America and across the globe sustained themselves on a yearly basis with items produced from their own gardens and farms. They canned, stewed, salted and dehydrated many pounds of meat, fruits and vegetables that were stored in root cellars and other places for use in any season. And this bears the following question — if they could do it, why can’t you and your young family.
The most likely reason is you were brought up on processed foods for most of your life, which carried down to the next generation. The good news is you can diminish or altogether stop this process and replace it with a garden-to-table process regardless if you live on a large plot of land or in a high-rise apartment. Here are a few reasons why this should be done.
It saves money.
Well, this is a blog about finances, isn’t it? Think about the costs connected with starting a small garden plot either outside in the back yard or in on your deck. You can purchase fruit and vegetable seeds for as little as ten cents a pack at a dollar store or retailer like WalMart. It costs a bit more for a small trowel to dig holes in the dirt. The most expensive part of this is soil and compost to provide essential nutrients that let the plants thrive.
You may even be able to save money on seeds and compost if you make them on your own. Vegetable and fruit seeds can be washed and stored at room temperature for several months before planting season, and compost can be made at home from food scraps, grass clippings and other yard products.
It’s a family bonding project.
There aren’t too many kids out there who don’t enjoy digging in the dirt, so why not let them be productive when they do it? Getting your children involved in a planting project makes them an investor in seeing how it all comes out. There’s nothing more satisfying to a parent then seeing their child’s eyes widen as a plant begins to grow and bear produce. In addition, allowing them to participate may give them the bug to do the same thing when they grow up.
It can last you the entire year.
You may not have a root cellar, but you have plenty of cool and dark places around your house where you can store canned and jarred products to last the entire year. For example, wouldn’t you like to eat fresh peaches in January or homemade strawberry jam in November? It takes some time and monetary investment to can the various fruits and vegetables you grow; however, the money you’ll save on produce in the off-season is worth in. And don’t forget about freezing some of your items. Many produce items can store for up to six months with proper preparation.