Nothing that you buy from the store, as convenient as it is, can even begin to compare with the snappy, sprightly green chillis or the crunchy bite of home grown fresh lettuce grown.
Apart from the taste, there is the comfort you can take in knowing that home grown food is free from contamination (have you pictured the pesticide sprays and chemically injected apples yet?), nutritious, has grown in your house (saving on the transportation and gas guzzling trucks that cause deadly air pollution. Planet earth is grateful!) and to top it all, saves you a lot of money on your groceries (food inflation affects you no more).
Simply put, growing your own food is a highly rewarding and fun activity, also adds to the aesthetics of the house in the way we do it.
Everyone wants to eat healthy food. But when you are out in the market buying shiny, perfectly symmetric vegetables and fruits, there is no way of knowing where your cherries and salads are coming from, what kind of treatment has been done to the soil, whether or not they have been locally grown, and if they have been doused in wax on injected with steroids for premature ripening-all of which is unhealthy and scary.
Every year, international agency like the Environmental Working Group releases a list of produce, called the ‘Dirty Dozen’, that is found loaded with pesticides including commonly consumed produce like celery, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and spinach. Interestingly, these are varieties you can grow at home easily and eliminate the fear of eating food that is doused in cancer-causing pesticide.
For the sheer convenience, nutrition and aesthetics of it, many health conscious people are moving to hydroponics to grow their own food. In hydroponics, the plant is kept in seed capsules or growing chambers, and the only source of nourishment for the plant is sunlight and the nutrient water solution. The water is mixed with nutrient solutions, and is exposed to the roots providing the nourishment for the plant to grow.
The food grown in your house through hydroponics will have zero hazardous chemical pesticides in it. The pest infestation is also controlled by the fact that the hydroponics is a form of soilless farming, which restricts the risk of pest attacks.
Studies have also shown that home grown food is likely to be more wholesome than store-bought varieties, since their nutritional values have been preserved by allowing sufficient nutrients for plant health without using artificial chemicals to boost growth.
Also growing your own food allows you the freedom to have diversity in your diet. Research says, the more naturally colorful your food platter is, the healthier it is for you. Your diet consisting of home grown vegetables and fruits, that are raw and fresh, will have more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, good carbs and folic acid. Also, the nutrition water used in hydroponic systems for the plants makes sure your lettuce is juicy and crunchy. When you are growing food at home through hydroponics, where you can control every influencing factor, you can have a say on the harvest all around the year.
When you are not growing your own vegetables, you can be held at ransom to food inflation or price rise. When demand rises, the prices of vegetables and fruits will rise. And the increase in price of some veggies, especially the exotic varieties, will be manifold, since their demand is niche and inelastic. Growing your own food is good for your financial health as well!
You will save significantly on your groceries versus the small one-time investment you make on installing for example, a hydroponic system at home to grow all these vegetables, salads and fruits. It is a one-time investment because these days, hydroponic systems are marketed in the form of compact kits that come replete with the growth chamber setup, nutrients needed for the plants, seeds, other supplies and even lights.
When you buy celery from the market, you pay Rs.135 for 1 kg celery that serves for a day or two worth of meals, when you have more members in your family. But when you grow it on your own, the overall cost is reduced to more than half, since you do not pay for storage, middlemen or transportation. In fact, seeds bought for the same amount will give you a much larger produce.
When more people start growing their own food, they cut down on the environmental cost incurred by the fuel guzzling trucks and vans that carry the produce across hundreds of kilometers for sales and distribution, causing indiscriminate air pollution in their wake. You also cut down on chemical pesticides used in vegetable cultivation, which is harmful for the soil and environment in the long run.
If none of the above could convince you to grow your own food, this might-people with home gardens attest to the fact that home grown food has the richest flavors and they are raw, fresh, crunchy, juicy and tasty. In the oriental science of Ayurveda-the science of longevity and wellness-locally grown food is said to have high Prana or life force that makes it a far healthier option than the store-bought choices.
Here’s the problem with store bought produce, sometimes even the organic varieties-they are commercially grown, which means the crops are put through selective breeding practices to have specific traits like specific colors, taste or longer shelf life, which takes away from the natural qualities of the raw variety. They are also injected with chemicals to ripe prematurely, so they can be sold at the earliest.
But when you grow them hydroponically indoors, you do not compromise on the natural texture, taste and flavor of the produce.
Note ‘fresh’ is key here because when you grow your own salads or leafy vegetables, you know for sure that your harvest has not been sitting in unhygienic conditions in warehouses for days together, or lost its nutritive value in long transits before distribution and sale only to be artificially pepped up to ‘look’ fresh.
And with Urban Kisaan’s AI enabled mobile app that tracks the growth and nutrition of plants, you can get timely notification to harvest your produce at the right time when the flavors and nutrients are at their peak. With so much natural flavor, you can also cut down on salt and additional oil drizzles to make tasty food.
There are extraordinary health benefits of being your own farmer. Research shows that those who self-cultivate, are less likely to develop chronic illnesses by a third and are less likely to have diabetes or heart diseases.
According to a particular study, the geriatric population that gardens as a hobby has 36% less chances of having dementia compared to those who do not have the hobby. Longevity expert Dan Buettner’s study suggests, people who lived a 100 years had these interests in common-regular exercise, strong support systems, vegetarian diet and gardening as a hobby.
In their sprouting stages, seeds are known to be most nutritious due to concentration of all the nutrients. Hydroponically grown sprouts are even healthier since they draw from wholesome nutrient water solutions. And so, sprouts even when consumed in smaller quantities can give you sufficient nutrition.
Studies show, in some seed varieties, the vitamin content is 500% more during the sprouting stages. They also have 100 times more enzymes than fully grown vegetables and fruits. There is higher bioavailability of minerals, fatty acids, healthy fiber and protein in sprouts.
Urban Kisaan is a platform built to facilitate your desire to have home grown food in the most hassle free manner. It offers compact, slick hydroponic kits that you can buy, that require no soil. These sufficiently lit up kits come in models where you can grow from 18 to 48 crop varieties in a single hydroponic system.