Since 1826, when French lawyer and epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote the slogan, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are,” the idea of eating healthy foods to stay healthy has been, at least to some degree, in the consciousness of generations.
Over the years, the motto has gone in and out of vogue until the 1960s hippie era gave us a more modern version of Brillat-Savarin’s words. “You are what you eat” was embraced by the collective lexicon of a changing world and at last there was mounting scientific evidence to prove it. Today, words like “whole foods” and “organically grown” may sound expensive, but healthy foods like these don't have to be expensive if you grow them yourself.
Home gardening is seeing a renaissance as food prices soar and families are increasingly limited to fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as recent food safety concerns and political unrest in regions around the world.
Kitchen Gardeners International (KGI), a not-for-profit organization in Scarborough, Maine that promotes organic gardening globally, is one group helping to drive the movement. Backyard garden enthusiasts say the practice costs less than buying your food from the store, the food tastes better, in the short term the activity helps to reduce stress, and in the long term you get better health.
In addition, growing your own food gives you access to a larger variety of nutrients, makes for a lighter carbon footprint and gives you satisfaction and peace of mind in knowing where your food comes from.
First Lady Michelle Obama brought attention to the backyard gardening movement in 2009, when she dug up a patch of the White House south lawn to plant a vegetable garden, a move inspired by KGI. The garden wasn’t merely to provide organic food for the first family and formal dinners, but to educate children about healthful, locally grown fruits and vegetables at a time when obesity and diabetes has become a national health concern. The practice continues today. Total annual cost of the garden: $200.