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The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Grow your own foods

(Courtesy of Getty Images)
Zucchini plants sprout from soil. It is important to grow your own food, even in winter. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

Gardening is such a peaceful hobby, not only does it involve the outside air and interacting with your environment, but also it’s healthy. 

Bryan Flower, assistant director of food system innovations at NIU, explained that at grocery stores, food is artificially preserved and sits on shelves for days. 

“You get the full totality of nutrient’s potential when you pick something out of the garden and eat it as soon as possible,” Flower said. 

Some foods such as chemically processed meat and fried food may contain some potentially dangerous carcinogens – a cancer-causing component that can be harmful to the human body, according to Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine

Most people don’t notice how unhealthy the food they eat is, and the ingredient names can be so intense that it’s hard to know what they are.

It’s important to note that other countries have a lot of the same food as the U.S., but their food is made with less harmful ingredients. For example, Mountain Dew in the U.S. contains different ingredients that Mountain Dew in the EU does not have because of legality issues with the ingredients, according to Mountain Dew

It is important to grow your own food and have control to avoid putting in synthetic chemicals.

It’s important to be mindful of the dangers certain ingredients can have

A great way to avoid harmful preservatives is growing your own food. Everyone should have access to food and knowledge of gardening to be able to sustain themselves. It is beautiful to be able to take a seed and watch it grow into something that tastes good or even looks pretty.  

Everyone should garden, as not only can it be a fun hobby, but it is healthy. 

“Doing it (gardening) in a manner that does not harm the Earth,” Flower said. “Don’t add chemicals, and follow what Mother Nature is doing. Heal the soil, and let the natural soil help you produce.” 

Flower explained that respecting and taking care of the Earth is why he feels strongly about gardening. 

There are plenty of root vegetables to be planted during the end of spring and into the fall. 

With the colder seasons, it may be discouraging to start planting, but there are so many herbs that can be grown inside such as basil, oregano and chives, according to Good Housekeeping.

“You can extend growing seasons by using greenhouses or gardening inside using grow lights,” Flower said.  

When certain fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs are out of season you can preserve your own food in an organic way and canning. But, again, growing fresh foods inside is the best option.

A lot of people live on campus which deters them from gardening and growing their own food. 

Thankfully, NIU has plenty of free resources available. For example, the gardens by the Founder Memorial Library is a free-to-pick spot where students can pick any edible plants.

Edible Campus is a great resource for finding the opportunities on campus to eat organically and find volunteer opportunities for those interested in learning and gardening,” Flower said. 

Everyone should start a garden and to do it in a way that does not harm the Earth, soil or body. 

Eat fresh organic produce from your very own garden or even the garden by NIU’s Founders Memorial Library.

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