This past weekend, my husband spent hours building a garden with six foot wire mesh fence to keep the wild animals out and the vegetables in. He contracted a little thing called gardening fever. He decided he wanted to start growing some fruits and veggies at home and he went all out. I have to say, I am looking forward to the benefits of growing our own food.

Improve your family's health – Did you know that eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you and your family can do to stay healthy? Fruit and vegetable vitamin content is at its highest levels when they are straight from the garden.

Save money on groceries – A packet of seeds can cost less than a dollar and if you learn to dry, can, or otherwise preserve your crops, you’ll be able to feed yourself even when the growing season is over.

Reduce your environmental impact – Growing your own crops is beneficial to the environment in that it reduces air and water pollution. If more people grew their own food, there would be a reduction in the amount of pollution caused by the transportation of these foods.

Get outdoor exercise – There is nothing like planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting to add purposeful physical activity to your day. Gardening is also a great way to relax, and get fresh air and sunshine.

Enjoy better-tasting food – Do you ever wonder how long the food on your supermarket shelf has been there? In comparing the flavor of a homegrown tomato with the taste of a store-bought one, the homegrown is better. You know that if it tastes better, you’ll be more likely to eat it.

Stop worrying about food safety – With recalls every few months on food any more, many people are concerned about food safety. When you responsibly grow your own food, you don't have to worry about contamination you can trust that your food is safe and healthy to eat.

What do you think? Are the benefits of growing your own food good enough for you to give it a try?

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.

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