Benefits of growing your own food in college

Informational and starter guide to successful budgeting and growing

For a college students’ budget groceries can get pretty expensive at any local grocery store. Even when you run up your whole check, you’ve only really bought enough groceries for a salad. However, there are other alternatives like local market places that sell fresh produce for the low, but they’re usually only held once a week, and packing up around noon. With this tight window of time, any busy student would miss this opportunity. Grow your own food, and you’re no longer subject to plastic packaging, high prices, and insane food miles.

Students will feel healthier and motivated more often if they took the time out thinking before consuming. A lot of people are oblivious to the health risks that come along with consuming genetically modified food like McDonalds, and all the other bottom of the barrel fast food restaurants the government places in our communities. But students can’t consume GMO food and expect the internal organs that are getting them through college to remain healthy. Although low quality fast food is cheaper and more affordable, the cost you pay for your health in the end will always outweigh the price of quality food.

Budgeting money for college students is harder than the 4 years they actually spend working towards a degree, but if more students learned to grown their own food they will have more leisure money. “We made such a saving on our food bill that there wasn’t any question about going for it again this spring,” says fourth year medical student Charlotte Long. “For the price of a few packets of seeds and compost – probably $20 total, and we were given some old tools – we cut our shopping bill by around $10-$15 a week on fresh veg. If you’re looking at $60 a month, that’s quite a lot on a student budget, and nutritionally and taste-wise it was much better than anything we could have bought.”

Students who live off-campus and have access to a full kitchen, a car, and possibly a balcony have it a little easier than students who live on campus with only a microwave and fridge, but that doesn’t exempt these students from participating.

Learning how to produce your own food at a young age can also be a great source of income in the future. Agriculture is a booming field, and as long as there are people, there is going to be food. “Watching a seedling unfurl, witnessing the death of a neglected plant, raising a garden for butterflies -such experiences help students acquire a direct, personal understanding of what living things require to thrive, and how they how they adapt and interact. These connections serve as a vital foundation for developing a lifelong ethic of environmental stewardship.”(Martens, 2007)

There are many young holistic healthy eating individuals that are using home-grown fruits and veggies in their lives, you just have to talk to people. “Being a vegetarian has really changed my life physically and mentally. When I throw my food tasting parties, it’s not me forcing vergitarianism on anyone, I just want people to realized food can be amazing without meat. This lifestyle has introduced me to so many fruits and vegetables, that I have no choice but to get the best quality. So what better way than to grow my own stuff every now and then. I still shop at the local marketplaces though because my vegetation does take a while to produce”, said KC Veggie of KC Veggies catering.

img_3090  The simple steps to growing your own food  img_3091

  1. Invest in some flowerpots that have a pre cut drains at the bottom from Family Dollars gardening section. If the pots without the drain is more expensive its okay! You can poke a hole in it at home, and it works just as well. You can also get fertilized dirt here. This will only cost around $5 if you shop wisely.
  2. Do some research on what kind of food you would like to grow, and find out if it’s in season? Plant food that’s in season for the best results!
  3. The next time you’re spending well over your budget in the grocery store, inquire about some seeds, and add them to the pile of stuff you probably wont eat.
  4. Read the instructions on the back of your seeds and do as follows. It should tell you exactly how much dirt you would need by how deep the seed should be planted. Water and be patient!!
  5. Love your plants, talk to your plants, but don’t over water them.
  6. Be patient
  7. When its time, pull your food out of the dirt, wash and enjoy!

img_3089

Growing your own food is just as fun as cooking! If you do it with love, and love what you’re creating everything will grow and taste amazingly. Dirt ology Scientist Gregory Sandino from California says, “People take my job as a joke because I work with soil and minerals and a lot of things you can’t see, but I love what I do. From my interest in dirt I can grow pretty much anything. I am now incorporating marijuana into my cooking which takes the level of fun and anticipation to another level.”

Check out an up to date video of my personal garden below↓

Best,

Maanami Naomi


Sources 

KC Veggies

Kendra Casey

kcvegnfruit@gmail.com

Gregory Sandino

Dirtologist 

Gregsandingo@growcali.net

Tickle, L. (2009). How students are growing their own fruit and vegetables to reduce bills. Retrieved December 05, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/education/2009/apr/24/students-food-growing-gardening-allotments

MARTENS, K. AND KNIGHT, V.
Kids growing food: Project Directors Guide
In-text: (Martens & Knight, 2016)
Your Bibliography: Martens, K. & Knight, V. (2016). Kids growing food: Project Directors Guide (1st ed., pp. 1-5). New York City: Cornell University. Retrieved from http://www.agclassroom.org/ny/programs/pdf/kgf/project_guide.pdf

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