Why grow your own is healthier and more sustainable

Should you grow your own vegetables and fruit? Is growing your own better for you and your family’s health. What about the environment? Here are some reasons to grow your own. 

The grow your own trend is healthy

Eating more vegetables is good for you and your family. By growing your own fruit and vegetables you can choose the ones that you and your family are most likely to eat. This will encourage you to eat more plant based foods and that is good for the planet. 

Growing your own, when done right, is less expensive than buying produce from the supermarket. That’s because summer salad ingredients are often imported or transported. 

The RHS’s horticulture expert Leigh Hunt suggests that families grow the most expensive food they like (The Guardian). Examples are rocket or lettuce at £1 a packet. Jane Perrone from the podcast, On the Ledge, suggests growing fruit like raspberries and redcurrants which are similarly expensive. 

To reduce costs further, and if you have the space, start a compost heap so that you don’t have to pay for bags of compost. Food waste and other biodegradable items can be added to your compost instead of going to landfill. 

A second reason that ‘grow your own’ is healthy is that it keeps you active. You need to spend time caring for the plants and watering them and this gets you out of doors and off the sofa. Gardening is good exercise. It uses all the muscle groups, builds endurance and burns an average 330 calories per hour (CNN). That’s the same as playing golf or dancing for an hour. 

A third reason to grow your own is so that you know what chemicals are sprayed on your vegetables. If you are growing your own produce you are in control of what you spray onto them to manage diseases and pests and you can choose to garden organically. For more info on how to garden organically, join the Biodynamic Association’s garden club

Is growing your own more sustainable?

Growing your own is more sustainable for a number of reasons. One of the biggest benefits is that there is no plastic packaging wrapped around ‘grow your own’ vegetables. 

Plastic packaging on vegetables contributes to carbon emissions and plastic waste. 1,020,000 pieces of fruit and vegetable packaging were counted by 97,948 households that took part in The Big Plastic Count in one week in 2022. 

The second reason growing your own produce is more sustainable is that there is no transportation involved in walking to your garden and picking your produce. Fruit and vegetables that are transported across the world contribute to carbon emissions. 

Around 0.4% of UK emissions are estimated to come from road, rail and air transportation of fruit and vegetables (T Garnett, Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, 2006 PDF). Some of them are refrigerated en route. They are then stored in cold storage or force ripened, both of which use energy. 

A third reason ‘grow your own’ is better for the planet is that you can reduce food waste. You can pick what you need to eat that day. If you have an excess, you can share it, swap it, freeze it or preserve it for later. 

We are sure that you will benefit from growing your own plants, whether that is a pot of herbs on your balcony or a full-sized allotment garden. For more sustainable living ideas, check out the house & garden section of our directory.

Annette Clubley

Annette is a keen wildlife conservationist, mindful of sustainability and our impact on the environment. Outside of work, family is her focus and she loves teaching the next generation to enjoy the outdoors.