Grow Your Own Way
Author: Jess McCallum
Did you know that more than half (52%) of all Australian households are growing some of their own food nowadays? And a further 13% report they intend to start.
Recent years have seen a renewed interest in the quality, provenance, freshness and price of food, sparking a trend of Australians growing their own food at home or in local community gardens and shared spaces for residents in retirement villages and nursing homes.
The Australian Institute has made this discovery in their recent report Grow Your Own and what's more, they've found that while the majority of people grow their own (or GYO) to produce healthier food (71%) and save money (62%), more than half also do it for the health and wellbeing benefits that are gained from gardening.
It's promising to see that the message about the advantages of the great outdoors is getting through. These include physical activity, vitamin D production, relaxation, and positive impacts on mental health, and you can read more about the health benefits of connecting with nature in Planet Ark's series of research reports commissioned over the last three years.
The environmental benefits also made it to the lists of motivations for growing your own. There is increasing evidence that growing your own has direct and indirect benefits for the environment, including reduced food wastage and greenhouse gas emissions. Growing food at home helps foster a greater appreciation for where food comes from and its value - especially for kids.
Finally, growing food at home gives you a reason to get a compost bin or worm farm and make your own compost. Check out Planet Ark ambassador Costa Georgiadis' guide to household composting to help you get started.
For beginner gardeners, or those wanting tips on a simple, no-dig garden perfect for a small backyard or patio, check out this great step-by-step guide by The Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network.
So if you're not GYOing, maybe now is the time to get on board!
And if you'd like to share your gardening success - whether it's a new garden or a long established one - we'd love to see and share it. Send us a pic and a few details and we'll show all our social media friends.