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Do Good, Feel Good: Organic Gardening Benefits
There are many good reasons to start an organic garden. Many gardeners view organic gardening as a two-way street: they’re helping themselves as well as the environment. By engaging in growing practices that are beneficial to the ecosystem and avoiding the use of chemical pesticides, organic gardeners can “do good and feel good” at the same time.
So what exactly are the organic gardening benefits you can expect? Let’s take a closer look at some interesting facts and figures you might not be aware of:
- Getting Adequate Sunshine – Did you know that most Americans now spend about 90 percent of their time indoors? Getting outside in the sunshine can boost our health in many ways. Sunshine boosts serotonin, which puts us in a better mood. Sunshine also supplies us with Vitamin D, which we need for bone health. Research shows that sunshine may even reduce blood pressure. Getting out in your organic garden several times a week can help you reap these benefits of sunshine. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
- Burning Calories – You might not think of organic gardening as a way to lose weight. However, one organic gardening task can burn as many as 400 calories per hour. Because organic gardeners tend to be more environmentally-conscious than traditional gardeners, they also tend to eschew power tools in favor of hand gardening tools. The increased exertion facilitates the calorie burning process. An active organic gardener could burn as many as 35,000 calories over the course of a six-month growing season, which can result in a 10-pound weight loss!
- No More “Eating” Pesticides – According to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, about 37 percent of the produce found in grocery stores contains some form of pesticide residue. Organically-grown fruits and vegetables do not rely on chemicals for insect control, thereby eliminating exposure to synthetic pesticides and associated health risks, such as neurological and reproductive disorders, asthma, cancer and many others.
- Improving Soil Health – From an environmental perspective, organic growing practices can have a positive impact on soil health. According to David Pimentel, Emeritus Professor of Entomology at Cornell University, the dependency on chemical fertilizers is a contributing factor in the loss of top soil and the resulting estimated annual cost of $40 billion in the United States. Organic growing relies on fertilizing and pest control solutions such as those available from Safer® Brand. These products are compliant for use in organic production and they don’t contribute to top soil erosion. In fact, when these ingredients break down in the environment, they can actually enhance soil health.
- Promoting Clean Water – “Pesticide drift” occurs when the runoff from man-made chemical fertilizers drifts downstream and eventually pollutes larger bodies of water. Pesticide drift is said to be a contributing cause in a “dead zone” found in the Gulf of Mexico, covering roughly 13,000 square miles. Dead zones are characterized by a lack of oxygen that is necessary to support aquatic life. The natural ingredients found in organic fertilizers and pest control products do not result in pesticide drift.
- Conserving Energy – The use of hand tools and other organic gardening techniques require less energy than conventional gardening practices. According to Organic.org, organic gardening can reduce energy consumption by as much as 30 percent in comparison to conventional gardening.
There’s an endless list of organic gardening benefits. Whether you want to promote your health or help protect the environment, organic gardening is one way you can do good and feel good.