How to Plan a Vegetable Garden

Here is a great article from Better Homes and Gardens about all you need to know about what to plant in a garden filled with vegetables.

Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money — that $2 tomato plant can easily provide you with 10 pounds of fruit over the course of a season.

Planting a garden with vegetables also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from the garden. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed the best grocery store produce.

Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It’s a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun.

Learning what to plant in a garden with vegetables, and how to tend them for the best harvest, is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor — without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you’ve combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature.

Deciding What to Plant in a Garden with Vegetables

At first, when deciding what to plant in a garden with vegetables, it’s best to start small. Many gardeners get a little too excited at the beginning of the season and plant more than they need — and end up wasting food and feeling overwhelmed by their garden.

So first, take a look at how much your family will eat when you think about how to plan a vegetable garden. Keep in mind that vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash keep providing throughout the season — so you may not need many plants to serve your needs. Other vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and corn, produce only once. You may need to plant more of these.

Determining How Much Space You Need

Once you know what you want to plant, you can figure out how plan a vegetable garden with the right amount of space.

Keep in mind when figuring out what to plant in a garden with vegetables that you don’t need a large space to begin. If you choose to grow in containers, you don’t even need a yard — a deck or balcony may provide plenty of space.

In fact, a well-tended 10×10-foot vegetable garden will usually produce more than a weed-filled or disease-ridden 25×50-foot bed.

Picking the Perfect Spot

No matter how big your vegetable garden is, or how you determine what to plant in a garden, there are three basic requirements for success:

  1. Full sun. Most vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of direct sun. If they don’t get enough light, they won’t bear as much and they’ll be more susceptible to attack from insects or diseases.

Here’s a hint: If you don’t have a spot in full sun to plant a garden with vegetables, you can still grow many leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. And if you’re in a hot-summer climate, cool-season varieties such as peas may do better in part shade.

  1. Plenty of water. Because most vegetables aren’t very drought tolerant, you’ll need to give them a drink during dry spells. When thinking about how to plan a vegetable garden, remember: The closer your garden is to a source of water, the easier it will be for you.
  2. Good soil. As with any kind of garden, success usually starts with the soil. Most vegetables do best in moist, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter (such as compost or peat moss).

Many gardeners like to have their vegetable gardens close to the house. This makes it easier to harvest fresh produce while you’re cooking. It can also be handy to keep a few favorite potted vegetables next to your grill.

How to Design and Plan Your Vegetable Garden

There are two basic approaches to planning the layout of a vegetable garden:

Row Cropping 

This is probably what comes to mind when you think of what to plant in a garden with vegetables: You place plants single file in rows, with a walking path between each row.

Row cropping works best for large vegetable gardens, and it makes it easier to use mechanical equipment such as tillers to battle weeds.

The downside of row cropping is that you don’t get as many vegetables in a small space, as much of the soil is used for footpaths rather than vegetable plants.

Row cropping isn’t as visually interesting, either.

Here’s a hint: Allow at least 18 inches between your rows so you have plenty of room to work between them. And as you sketch out your plan, place taller vegetables at the north side of the garden. This includes naturally tall plants — like tomatoes — and plants that can be grown on vertical supports — including snap peas, cucumbers, and pole beans.

Intensive Cropping

This type of planting a garden with vegetables means using in wide bands, generally 1-4 feet across and as long as you like. Intensive cropping reduces the amount of area needed for paths, but the closer spacing of the plants usually means you have to weed by hand.

Because of the handwork required, when thinking how to plan a vegetable garden with rows remember: It is important not to make the bands wider than you can comfortably reach.

Intensive cropping also allows you to design your vegetable garden, making it a good choice, for example, if you want to grow vegetables in your front yard. It’s a great solution for mixing vegetables with ornamentals, as well.

A specialized version of intensive cropping is the “square-foot method.” This system divides the garden into small beds (typically 4×4 feet), that are further subdivided into 1-foot squares. Each 1-foot square is planted with one, four, nine, or 16 plants, depending on the size of the plant when it matures.

It also makes sense to leave some areas of the garden unplanted at first. This allows you to plant a second crop to harvest later in the season. Lettuce, radishes, green onions, carrots, and bush beans are commonly planted several times during the season.

Testing and Fixing Your Soil

It’s best to test the soil before you begin planting a garden with vegetables. Check drainage by soaking the soil with a hose, waiting a day, then digging up a handful of soil. Squeeze the soil hard. If water streams out, you’ll probably want to add compost or organic matter to improve the drainage.

Next, open your hand.
If the soil hasn’t formed a ball, or if the ball falls apart at the slightest touch, the soil is probably too sandy. (Add organic matter to improve sandy soil.)
If the ball holds together even if you poke it fairly hard, you have too much clay in your soil. (Organic matter improves clay soil, too.)
But if the ball breaks into crumbs when you poke it — like a chocolate cake — rejoice! Your soil is ideal.

If your soil doesn’t drain well, your best bet will probably be to install raised beds.

Here’s a hint: Build raised beds on existing lawn by lining the bottom of frames with several layers of newspaper, then filling with soil. That way, you don’t have to dig!

Digging Your Beds

Loosen your soil before you plant a garden with vegetables. You can either use a tiller or dig by hand.

Once the soil has been loosened, spread out soil amendments (such as compost) and work them into the soil. Avoid stepping on freshly tilled soil as much as possible. Otherwise, you’ll be compacting the soil and undoing all your hard work.

When you’re done digging, smooth the surface with a rake, then water thoroughly. Allow the bed to rest for several days before you plant.

Choosing Varieties

Once you start deciding what to plant in a garden with vegetables, you’ll probably notice that the possibilities for are endless. There are thousands of tomato varieties alone!

When selecting varieties, pay close attention to the description on the tag or in the catalog. Each variety will be a little different: Some produce smaller plants that are ideal for small gardens or containers, others offer great disease resistance, improved yields, better heat- or cold-tolerance, or other features.

Seed catalogs are one of the best sources for vegetables. Once you narrow your choices to types of vegetables, pick two or three varieties that seem promising. That way if one variety doesn’t perform well, you’ll have other plants to make up for it. Next year, grow the best performer again, and choose another to try.

Many vegetables can be started early indoors or purchased already started from a garden center. The benefit of this approach is that you can have a crop ready to harvest several weeks earlier than if you were to plant seeds in the ground. Starting vegetables indoors is not difficult, but it does require some time and attention. Seed packages list the options you have for planting particular seed.

Care and Feeding

Most vegetables like a steady supply of moisture, but not so much that they are standing in water. About an inch of water per week is usually sufficient, provided by you if Mother Nature fails to come through. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. For in-ground crops, that may mean watering once or twice a week; raised beds drain faster and may require watering every other day.

Weeds compete with your vegetables for water and nutrients, so it’s important to keep them to a minimum. Use a hoe or hand fork to lightly stir (cultivate) the top inch of soil regularly to discourage weed seedlings. A mulch of clean straw, compost, or plastic can keep weeds at bay around larger plants like tomatoes.

Fertilizing your crops is critical to maximizing yields. Organic gardeners often find that digging in high quality compost at planting time is all their vegetables need. Most gardeners, however, should consider applying a packaged vegetable fertilizer, following the directions on the box or bag. Don’t apply more than recommended as this can actually decrease yield.

By using vining crops like pole beans and snap peas when planting a garden with vegetables, you can make use of vertical space in the garden and boost yield per square foot.

Harvesting

This is what it’s all about, so don’t be shy about picking your produce! Many vegetables can be harvested at several stages. Leaf lettuce, for example, can be picked as young as you like; snip some leaves and it will continue to grow and produce. Summer squash (zucchini) and cucumber can be harvested when the fruit is just a few inches long, or it can be allowed to grow to full size. The general rule: If it looks good enough to eat, it probably is. Give it a try. With many vegetables, the more you pick, the more the plant will produce.

Stopping Pests and Diseases

Pests and disease are ongoing problems for most vegetable gardeners. Although specific problems may require special solutions, there are some general principles you can follow.

Deer and rabbits. Use fences to deter rabbits. Make sure the bottom of the fence extends about 6 inches under the soil to stop rabbits from digging underneath it. The fence needs to stand at least 8 feet above the ground to prevent deer from jumping over it.

Spring insects. Row covers, which are lightweight sheets of translucent plastic, protect young crops against many common insects. Row covers are also helpful to prevent damage from light frosts.

Fungal diseases. Reduce fungal diseases by watering the soil, not the leaves of plants. If you use a sprinkler, do it early in the day so the leaves will dry by nightfall.

  • If a plant falls prey to a disease, remove it promptly and throw it in the trash; don’t add sick plants to your compost pile.
  • Grow varieties that are listed as disease resistant. Garden catalogs and websites should tell you which varieties offer the most protection.
  • Make it a habit to change the location of your plants each year. In other words, if you grew tomatoes in the northwest corner of your garden this year, put them in the northeast corner next year. This reduces the chances that pests will gain a permanent foothold in your garden.

Summer insects. Pick larger insects and caterpillars by hand. Once you get over the “yuck!” factor, this is a safe and effective way to deal with limited infestations.

Use insecticidal soap sprays to control harmful bugs. Most garden centers carry these products. Whatever pest control chemicals you use, read the label carefully and follow the directions to the letter.

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Heart Foundation: Stop giving advice and promoting food that causes heart disease!

Jessie Reimers has begun a petition to raise awareness of the not so healthy Heart Foundation’s red tick of approval. Here is a great article she has written in conjunction with her campaign to get people to sign the petition and become knowledgeable about healthy foods. We at Get Social With Your Local believe education is the greatest quality for living happy healthy lives.

“We are asking that the Heart Foundation update their nutrition advice based on the current science and research and scrap the Tick of Approval program as it is giving consumers a false sense of security and is placed on products that contribute to inflammation, heart disease and other illness.

I have explained in detail my reasons for starting this video in this youtube clip. You can also watch the segment on Sunrise where we explain the petition and this segment on Studio 10.

The Heart Foundation currently advises that we steer clear of ‘dangerous’ saturated fats, consume margarine, vegetable and seed oils, keep our cholesterol low, low, low, consume a diet made up of mostly REFINED, highly processed carbohydrates and choose foods with the tick of approval, the very large majority of which are highly processed, devoid of essential nutrients and many of which contain huge amounts of sugar (for example Milo Cereal which is 27% refined sugar). Here is a study linking added sugar with heart disease.

They claim that this advice is based on solid scientific evidence- however the evidence they continue to produce is very outdated and has been debunked by major studies many, many times since. All I am finding is more and more evidence to suggest that saturated fat and cholesterol are NOT associated with cardiovascular disease and that this idea was based initially on an extremely faulty study by Ancel Keys, who cherry picked data in an attempt to prove what he wanted to prove. If all of the data had been used they would have found absolutely NO correlation between saturated fat and heart disease- yet somehow this out-dated and even dangerous hypothesis is clung to so that margarine, cholesterol lowering medications and all manner of unnecessary and most certainly very unhealthy and damaging products can be sold.

Here is an example of evidence to suggest that saturated fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease. This is a MASSIVE meta-analysis involving over 340,000 subjects. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/535

You will find many more studies here.

In fact saturated fat and dietary cholesterol from natural, healthy sources such as butter from grass fed cows, animal fats from naturally raised animals, eggs (including the cholesterol filled yolk), unrefined coconut oil etc have been found to be extremely beneficial to health and actually assist in protecting, NOT causing cardiovascular disease. There has been a great deal of research and science to show this which has been largely ignored by the medical and scientific communities and by Heart Foundations and nutritional authorities around the world.  Some of these researchers, scientists, Drs, cardiovascular surgeons, obesity experts, authors, nutritionists etc include  Dr Eric Westman, USA; Dr Andreas Eenfeldt, Sweden; Dr Malcolm Kendrick, UK; late Dr Barry Groves, UK; Dr William Davis, US; Dr Gary Fettke, Australia and Dr Perlmetter, USA, Zoe Harcombe, Dr John Briffa, Dr Chris Kresser, Cyndi O’Meara, Dr Sandra Cabot, Sally Fallon, Christine Cronau, David Gillespie, Uffe Ranskov, Anthony Colpo and there are many others, all of whom rely on evidence based research and a great deal of well respected scientific studies, not on merely ‘opinion’ or ‘quackery’. It is time people learned the truth. The current advice CONTRIBUTES to inflammation, heart disease and a whole host of unpleasant and unnecessary medical complications.

Honestly it just seems absolutely ridiculous that a health authority like the Heart Foundation whom many of the public trust and listen to, advise to eat a diet made up of mostly processed carbohydrates in the form of cereal, bread and pasta, consume margarine and vegetable/seed oils- which are unnatural and contribue to inflammation, processed sugar filled foods filled with additives, preservatives, colours and flavours and which are devoid of essential nutrients and even products that contain aspartame. How can they honestly say that this will protect people against cardiovascular disease? Whilst telling people to avoid fat and cholesterol which is absolutely essential to the correct functioning of the body on so many levels.

We need to be educating people to eat REAL, whole food. Actual food that contains vitamins, minerals and all that the body requires to operate and protect itself effectively. This isn’t rocket science, it is simply what humans have always done. These new ideas to consume man made fats, margarine and processed foods are very much part of the health disaster.

If you would like to read the Heart Foundation’s response to my petition you can do so http://www.getafreshstart.com.au/the-heart-foundations-response-to-my-petition//’

Are you addicted to Sugar?

Like many of us, we sometimes crave a sugar hit every now and then, but what you might find surprising is just how much sugar is actually added to supermarket foods. This great article from Sarah Ketabi has more.

Did you know that little white stuff you sprinkle into your coffee, that’s hidden in your granola bar and is filled in your dessert is as addictive of that white powder that’ll get you behind bars? Sugar (street name: stardust, snow, crack, fairy dust, rock.. just kidding) gets you hooked through invoking in a feeling of euphoria triggered by dopamine, the pleasure-inducing chemical in our brain, according to Psychology Today. Interestingly enough, the legal white powder, sugar, is causing more deaths in our population than the illegal substance, drugs.

Dr. Lustig, who has conducted the toxic effects of sugar findings, has said 75% of diseases Americans face are preventable simply by improving our diets. And with every high comes a low. Dr. Charles Raison, CNN’s mental health expert stated, “While processed sugars may produce a brief emotional high, several lines of evidence indicate that they affect our biology in ways that promote depression. For example, rates of depression in a country rise in lockstep with per capita sugar consumption. Sugars- which are found in all sorts of processed foods we don’t typically think of as sweet- promote obesity, and obesity is a very powerful risk factor for the later development of depression.”

So how is sugar addictive?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta offered his brain as a test during his interview with Dr. Lustig about the toxic effects of sugar. Having sips of coca cola increased the blood flow to certain regions of the brain- the same areas stimulated by a dose of cocaine or heroine. And just like an addict, you need more and more of that substance to get the same rush, which is why Americans are addicted to sugar. Neuroscientist Eric Stice says that by scanning hundreds of volunteers, he’s noticed that those who regularly consume sweet foods like ice cream or soda, build up a tolerance, feeling less reward and needing to eat more and more each time. He states, “If you overeat these on a regular basis, it causes changes in the brain. Basically it blunts your reward region response to the food, so then you eat more and more to achieve the same satisfaction you felt originally.”

So why are we addicted?

Dr. Lustig explains that our craving for sugar is a result of evolution. Since in nature, no foods with fructose are poisonous, humans have adapted to think “if it’s sweet, it’s safe.” Our brain has adapted to stay away from the harmful stuff by making the sweet stuff taste so darn good. CBS’s 60 Minutes explains, “Central to Dr. Lustig’s theory is that we used to get our fructose mostly in small amounts of fruit, which came loaded with fiber that slows absorption and consumption; after all, who can eat 10 oranges at a time? But as sugar and high fructose corn syrup became cheaper to refine and produce, we started gorging on them.” Guess Darwin couldn’t have predicted in a thousand years time, sugar would become our poison of choice.

They say it can’t be so bad if it tastes so good.. Wrong. Too much sugar causes the liver to convert fructose to fat, causing high cholesterol, clogged arteries, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, obesity, breast and colon cancer. Lewis Cantley, head of Beth Israel Cancer Center, has discovered that tumors actually feed off glucose, due to their insulin detectors. We are literally dying for sugar.

Sugar is in places that most people would never imagine…

This dangerous substance isn’t just found in your sugar shaker- sugar is in places you’ll never imagine, like your peanut-butter, bread, sauces and yogurt; in fact, the average American eats 130 pounds of sugar a year! Ditching dessert isn’t just going to do the trick; restaurants sneak sugar into savory dishes, even fish recipes like Miso Black Cod, to amplify it’s taste, keeping you hooked. Dr. Lustig recommends that men should not consume more than 150 calories of added sugars a day and women, just 100. Thank god looking at Food Porn doesn’t have calories.

Now you don’t need to ban all sugar from your diet- I mean, what’s the point of life without a little bit of sweet stuff? Just try to stay balanced and not overdo it. With portion control, it’s fine to have dessert every night, just stay active and try to eat as many natural sugars, like fruit and honey, as possible. One of my favorite desserts when I’m craving something sweet are frozen grapes with a bit of dark chocolate. Artificial sweeteners aren’t the solution either- they are filled with dangerous chemicals linked with causing cancer. Dr. Lustig’s key word was “overeat,” so you can make your cake and eat it too (just not the whole entire thing) and you’re addiction will be under control.

To learn more, read Sanjay Gupta’s interview with Dr. Lustig and Lewis Cantley on the War on Sugar and watch Dr. Lustig’s anti-sugar campaign YouTube video Sugar: The Bitter Truth.

How Farmers Markets Can Teach Your Kids the Values of Local Food and Community Building.

The Farmers Market is a great place to bring your kids for so many reasons! The Farmers Market allows you to provide your family with wholesome, healthy food while supporting your local community at the same time.

Here’s the reality- Family farmers need your support! Now that large agribusiness dominates food production small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalised economy.

And health-wise, your doing your family a great favor! Much of the food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification (GMOs). Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. These practices may have negative effects on human health. In contrast, most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties. (Make sure to ask each farmer about their growing practices. We’ve found that most sustainable farmers enjoy talking about their love for the soil and the great lengths they go to produce healthy, pesticide free food!)

Top 10 Reasons to Bring your Kids to the Farmers Market

1. Develop healthy emotional eating habits.

One of the biggest myths about emotional eating is that it’s prompted by negative feelings. Yes, people often turn to food when they’re stressed out, lonely, sad, anxious, or bored.

But emotional eating can be linked to positive feelings too! It’s no accident that McDonald’s named their kids deal a “Happy Meal”! They do this to form a lifelong emotional bond between being happy and eating at McDonald’s, and it works!

You can beat the fast food marketing guru’s at their own game. Simply swap out the fast food and replace it with a fun day at the Farmers Market! Do this on a regular basis and your kids will start to equate healthy real food with those happy family days at the market.

2. Connect kids with “real food”

There is a huge disconnect between most Australian’s and their food. For the most part, we’ve stopped questioning where our food comes from, how it is raised and if it is good for our health. To a large extent, this is why our supermarkets shelves are lined with so many boxes of processed junk. And most of it is Genetically Modified (GMOs). We are the ones buying it so they keep making it!

We can break that cycle with our kids and the Farmers Market provides a great opportunity to further the food connection discussion. It’s much more effective when you practice what you preach. Buying from local sustainable farmers reinforces the message.

3. Talk with real farmers

As you know, kids are naturally curious. This is a good match because farming is really amazing. Think about it: plant seeds in dirt, add water, get vegetables! Of course there’s a lot more to it than that.

As we mentioned above, a lot of the farmers we meet are very proud of the work they do and they’re very happy to talk about it. With a little coaching (if necessary) you’re kids can ask some great questions, like- Why are you a farmer? What’s your favorite things to grow? What’s that hardest thing to grow? The easiest? Do you use chemicals or pesticides? Why, or why not?

A cool side-effect of this is that the next time you go to the market your kids will remember the farmers. It’s great to make new friends, especially when their doing something as important as growing your food.

4. Let them buy their own food

Depending on your kids age(s), give them a few bucks to buy some of their own food to bring home. This in itself is a great learning experience. Will they think long and hard about what to buy? Or will they buy the first thing they see? Learning to shop wisely and consider all the options is a great skill to have.

And let’s be honest, if we really want to teach our kids about the value of real food, they should know how to shop for it!

PS- If you have young kids, instead of actually shopping maybe you can just let them give the money to farmer.

5. Cook the food you bought at home

Getting kids involved in cooking is great. Basic cooking skills open so many choices for them later in life and alleviate them of the need to buy ready made, highly processed meals. But it’s not always easy.

Cooking the food you just bought, or the food THEY just bought if you followed the step above, makes this a whole lot easier. It’s the next logical step- “We bought these veggies from the nice farmer, now we get to cook them!

6. Introduce new foods

Face it, some kids are just picky eaters. The 3 steps above may have a profound effect on their willingness to even TRY something new, right? Let’s go through this- We met the farmer, learned about how they grew this, we bought it, we took it home and now we cooked it. It’s just natural to want to taste it!

7. Learn about nutrition

For older kids, the Farmers Market provides an opportunity to learn about nutrition and why real foods are so important to maintain a healthy body. If your kids compete in sports, you can teach them why nutrients will make them better athletes. Even if they don’t play sports they can understand that real food is packed with vitamins and minerals that make them stronger, smarter and healthier.

Additionally you’ll be able to choose non-GMO foods and support non-GMO farmers.

8. Get away from the screens

TV screens, computer screens, iPad screens, phone screens- ARghhhh! Yes, I know you are reading this on a screen (unless somebody printed it for you). Screens are awesome but they have their time and place. Food has a huge impact on childhood obesity but at the same time most kids are on their butts too many hours per day.

Do we really have to watch Lion King one more time? The Farmers Market is a great excuse to bust away from the TV, or Xbox or Facebook, Instagram, – whatever, and get some fresh air.

9. Family bonding

A trip to the Farmers Market provides a great way to spend time together as a family. It’s easy to enjoy each others company when you’re doing something healthy. With little kids you can play fun games like finding food that’s different colors or shapes. With older kids try a scavenger hunt and offer a family prize if the goal is hit.

It may take a little work (and a bribe or two) but the market can be a fun family outing. Who knows, you may end up creating one of those fond memories that your kids can carry and pass on to their kids. How great would that be!

10. Teach the importance of community

The growing number of farmers markets in Australia gives us hope. They serve not only as a way for people to purchase local food but also as a chance for them to connect with others within their communities. Buying local promotes a sense of pride in you home town.

Farmers markets allow you to teach your kids that they can make a difference by voting with their dollars. When you shop at a large grocery store chain, a fraction of your dollars stay local. Supporting local farmers keeps the money in your community where it can be reinvested for the good of the town.

10 Reasons to Buy Your Fruit & Veggies at Your Local Farmer’s Market

Which of these two scenarios sounds more vibrant for overall quality of life and health?

The wind on your face, the sun on your skin, you talk with a local farmer about the size and taste of this year’s harvest of peaches, as you pop a slice in your mouth. After tasting several different varieties, you choose your favorite one, walking away with a great memory of the farmer in your mind. Or… You stand shivering in the freezer section at your local mega-mart, your eyes begin to glaze over from the halogen lights and the neon-colored cardboard boxes containing substances claimed to be food products? You decide on the one with the least amount of additives and make your way to the self-check-out line, excited to get in your car and out of the supermarket. Clearly, most of us would agree that the first scenario, at the local farmer’s market, is much more appealing than a trip to a big chain grocery store. But what, besides the aesthetic factor, are some of the other benefits of supporting your local farmers market? Here are ten reasons why I believe you should shop at your local farmers market.

1. Buying Locally

Buying from your local farmer allows you to support local agriculture. This means that the food you are eating comes from nearby, and does not require us to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food halfway around the world. You are eating food in your own environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for your specific climate and region. You are also supporting the environment by reducing the usage of fossil fuels.

2. Cheaper Organic Fruits & Veggies

You can find a variety of fresh, organic produce at more affordable prices than in a supermarket. There are also many farmers that carry products that are not technically “organic,” (as this is a costly and often beurocratic-heavy process), but have many low-priced foods that are pesticide and herbicide free. The advantage at a farmers market is that you can actually talk to the farmer, learn about their methods, and then decide for yourself and in most cases they will allow you to come and visit their farm.

3. Supporting Your Local Economy & Farmers

You are supporting human beings and the local economy, not massive agribusiness GMO food conglomerates. Not only will your money be staying in your area, but you will happily please the farmer that worked to grow that food. Your belly will remember the farmer’s smile as they handed you that juicy peach.

4. Eat Seasonally

By shopping at the local farmers market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. This is another great way to increase your overall health. Supermarkets offer too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened decreasing the vitality. The body does not need to be eating imported pineapple in the dead of a Montana winter! 5. Safer Foods Food from your local farmers market is generally safer. Remember the recent outbreaks of E. coli in bagged spinach? These things happen mostly in large industrial settings, where business-men work to mass produce food, preserve it and bag it in mass amounts.

6. Fresher Fruits & Veggies

The food from your local farmers market is, quite frankly, fresher. Because it was grown locally, there is a good chance that the apple you buy from the farmer was picked a few days ago. This is virtually impossible in a big supermarket.

7. Great Variety

There is usually an amazing variety of fruits and veggies at your local farmers market. Each farmer may have his own method for growing tomatoes or peppers. This is something that never happens at a grocery store.

8. Better Taste

There is no doubt that locally-grown foods just simply taste better. You will never be able to eat a carrot from the grocery store again!

9. It’s Healthy!

There’s just no way around it, eating fresh, locally-grown fruits and veggies are great for your health. Buy yourself some local honey, which is sold at most local farmer markets. It has just the right components for allergy prevention in your neck of the woods, not to mention it’s tasty!

10. Most Importantly — It’s Fun!

We stated it in the beginning, but farmers markets are just plain fun for the whole family. Meeting your local community is an excellent way to feel connected to the world around you, increasing health for body, mind and spirit.