Plant Your Food 3-Year Project

DSC_6011Day 20 – Apr/09/2017 – Passion Fruit, Passiflora Edulis – Yellow Giant Maracuja in a coffee cup

In this page, I would like to introduce you to my sustainability project. My mission is to naturally grow our own source of food by planting them in large pots at home without any use of chemicals. We buy everything from tomatoes to mushrooms, to milk, and yoghurt. But it is not cheap to buy these main ingredients with organic certifications especially for us since we consume at least 5lbs of plum tomatoes a week, at least 10 garlic bulbs, and 8 big onions. We also use a lot of scallions, basil leaves, mushrooms, and red bell peppers. And although I want to grow all our food at home, at this point, I have limited space where I can plant so I have chosen to plant the fruits, vegetables, and spices that we regularly use for cooking. I cannot grow mushrooms in our house for sure but I can definitely grow basil, cilantro, scallion, onion, garlic, and tomato. This will save us little but our produce will be 100% organic.

We usually do our grocery shopping every week and it is my responsibility to keep all the receipts. My husband was the one who taught me a valuable lesson why I should. He said if something is missing we can go back and claim the missing item, we can also use the receipt to track our expenses and compare it to the next receipts so that we know where and what to buy the next time “price-wise”. Those reasons, as simple as they are, didn’t matter to me before. I didn’t really care about keeping receipts or comparing prices of one store to another. Heck, I throw them or not even ask for one. But my husband taught me how to be very responsible with every penny we spend. He said that is “how I should value my hard work”. That was a very good advice because it made me not only collect our receipts but it also made me see our eating patterns. I know exactly what we eat every day and what we need to add to our diet. It also helped me track where we could purchase organic ingredients for a lesser price. Because of this, it was easy to know what caused a pimple to appear and what caused a constipation to happen. When you know your purchases, you know your food, your nutrition, and you know where to look when something is unusual. One day after collecting over 260 receipts I realized we were spending less not only when we don’t buy cookies, ice cream, and some biscuits for movie night, but we have standardized our food intake. Most importantly, I have unconsciously collected a list of truly healthy food. And I am very sure that we owe our health to all the food we bought for over three years.

DSC_6356Day 60 – Apr/09/2017 – Avocado, Persea Americana

As I have mentioned in the About page of this blog, the benefits of healthy eating is real. Even before we started working out the benefits were very obvious in our body. In March, while we were sitting on the balcony before sunset, my husband noticed something amazing. The cyst he had for at least 30 years flattened leaving only a trace of a scar-like skin tissue that is also gradually disappearing as of today. Luckily, I took a photo of it. There are more health related benefits that I can talk about on another page of this blog. These amazing results from eating healthy motivated me to plant our staple foods. I thought “since this is working then we should continue this and make this lifestyle even healthier”. The next day I planted my first garlic bulbs. If I remember correctly I started planting indoors on December 28, 2016, and today I have grown tomatoes, pomegranates, papaya, goji, moringa, lemon, avocado, and much more.  This is a 3-year project I am committed to doing every day.

DSC_47171Day 1 – Feb/06/2016 – Goji Berry, Lyceum Chinense, after sprouts appeared (orig. 12/28/2016)
DSC_6369Day 80 – Apr/27/2016 – Goji Berry, Lyceum Chinense, lower center: Papaya sprouts

Buying outside is fine as long as you know how your food was produced. If you want certified organic foods you certainly have to pay more. If you want a cheaper option you can choose non-organic but traditionally grown food. This means that the food was grown in soil but farmers used pesticides and chemical fertilisers to grow them. At least it is non-GMO. Either way, you need to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking. And for the foods that you can’t wash, well, you just need to trust the certifications they have or buy non-organic brands and see their ingredients on the label. Like for instance honey, you have to buy from a trustworthy brand or producer from a country known for selling naturally produced food. Some companies have no USDA organic and Non-GMO labels because in order to obtain these certifications companies pay a lot of money for lab tests to verify the authenticity of their claim. In other words, we have to do our own research to know from where and from whom we buy what.

For us, we have decided to grow our own vegetables and fruits. We will grow them at home naturally so we don’t have to spend more on buying certified organic garlic, onions, tomatoes, etcetera. And for items we cannot produce on our own we will buy them from the grocery or from fresh markets. This will cut down the cost of our expenses by at least 15%. Likewise, availability of some fruits is a big problem since not all fruits are available in stores year round. Take for instance the passion fruit. I have never seen one from Wholefoods, Trader Joe’s,  Safeway, Harris Teeter, or BJ’s and I want these superfoods available to us whenever the plant can produce it. We have been so used to buying everything and forgot about producing, which used to be a custom worldwide. Our family wants to relearn how to be self-sufficient once again because we want to teach our children this values that they may be reminded how important natural food is to their well-being. You can find our “Plant your food 3-year-project” with the hashtag #plantyourfood3yearproject updates in Instagram and on this page until we make our first harvest!

DSC_6368Day 30 – Apr/25/2017 – Lemon, Citrus Limon

 

 

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