Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Home-Grown Alternatives - Gardening on the Rise

A home rain garden recently plantedImage via Wikipedia

Home-Grown Alternatives - Gardening on the Rise by Mike Bunata

Not all of the consequences of our recent recession are negative. There is at least one positive trend surfacing in countries around the world, including the United States, that has seen families and individuals show a renewed interest in organic foods. Gardening industries are thriving as a result of rising food and fuel costs, fears over chemicals used in agriculture, and the increasing popularity of home-grown alternatives to retail produce.

World agriculture has raised prices to combat higher fuel costs, the increased demand of developing nations, and a world-wide reduction in arable land to grow crops, under the shadow of failing economies. In turn, local residents increasingly look to regional organic markets that run small-scale operations at competitive prices, or raise their own gardens to save money.

The health benefits realized by natural foods grown close to home are obvious. Herbs, vegetables and fruits offer levels of nutrition and quality that store-bought foods can't match.

Broccoli sprouts, for instance, contain a chemical called sulfuraphane that has powerful antibiotic properties for our digestive systems. Lemons also aid digestion and are a natural diuretic that helps the body flush out toxins. Cherries pack a potent health punch with high levels of antioxidants like beta carotene and melatonin. Natural herbs like oregano, parsley, and garlic are other popular choices among gardeners. These natural food sources promote healthier habits that also significantly aid weight-loss efforts and energy levels.

English residents are lining up to rent plots of land for cultivation. Seed vegetables, fruit trees, and berries are in high demand. Meanwhile, the U.S. National Gardening Association reports a 25 percent increase in consumer spending since 2006 and expects an additional 19 percent increase this year. Even the White House recently planted a garden on the South Lawn, featuring 25 varieties of heirloom seeds tended by staff members and local students.

Self-reliance is a beneficial by-product of this trend, as isolated reports from many countries prove that people are taking initiatives to grow at least a portion of their own produce. The popular trend to cultivate gardens is becoming more universal than ever, as residents take action against layoffs and uncertain financial markets that are pinching shrinking incomes down to absolute necessities. Rookie farmers are also appealing to consumers' demand for niche markets that realize profits and promote better health.

These conditions are creating changes in attitudes and lifestyles as Americans range their interests and expenditures in difficult times. Growing vegetables and fruits at home contributes to a better diet, with fewer intakes of preservatives, additives, and artificial ingredients that are difficult for your body to process. Staying natural, within reason, helps you lose weight by giving your body more of what it needs to stay trim and lowering your intake of sugar and fat.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Mike_Bunata


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