05/31/2012 05:02 EDT | Updated 07/31/2012 05:12 EDT

Trade Your Lawn for a Garden

Is the grass really always greener? This year, I think it's time to do away with your grassy lawn and replace it with food! Although a trend is never enough of a reason alone to do something, the urban farming bandwagon is definitely one to hop on right now. That's right, having your own vegetable garden has always been smart, but now, it's also trendy. Let's hear it for eco-progress!


A single-day harvest from my garden.

Besides peer pressure and popularity, here are nine reasons that you should get planning and planting your urban farm (or even a simple herb garden) today:

  1. How could you possibly get fresher and more local than food grown in your own front or backyard, your windowsills, fire escapes, patios, in pots, or even eavestroughs?
  2. Save money on food, and during the height of the harvest skip a few shopping trips. Who doesn't want to do all of that?
  3. Get healthier! Not only will you be eating the freshest and most local produce packed full of amazing nutrients, but I bet you'd eat a lot more of them all if they were within arms reach. Plus, gardening reduces stress, makes you excited to be outside and can burn as many calories in 45 minutes as you can in 30 minutes of aerobics.
  4. Growing your own vegetables and fruit means that you know exactly where your food comes from. You know what they say: know thy farmer, know thy food!
  5. Choose from so many more varieties of each veggie or fruit -- and you can grow the things you like the best, and the things that cost a lot at the market. (When you are choosing seeds, check out this list to see if the brand is Monsanto-owned as the company produces genetically engineered seeds.)
  6. Teach your children well. When you teach your kids where their food comes from (NOT the supermarket, but from the earth) and how much time it takes (tons of fun to watch), they will appreciate what they eat much more.
  7. Have fun together! It's a great activity to bring friends and family together, and connect with neighbours too. Who wouldn't love juicy tomatoes right off the vine as a gift?
  8. Preserve. It may sound like even more work, but freezing and/or canning and/or dehydrating your harvest means you'll be enjoying the seeds you sow through the entire year. I plant garlic in the fall, harvest it in the summer then enjoy it through the spring of the following year. No imports necessary!
  9. Nothing is more satisfying than growing your own food. It might even make you smile like this!

Two great resources for less-than-green-thumbs (myself included!) Follow them on Twitter and read their websites for lots of urban farming ideas and inspiration:

Young Urban Farmers

Urban Organic Gardener

Get sprouting, sharing and savouring!