Reader and fellow blogger, Anna Garcia, sent in this great blog post on growing your own food indoors and thoughtfully reminds us of the dangers of food poisoning. Certainly some great stuff to think about as we approach our growing season! Thanks Anna!
Growing Your Own Food Indoors
Most people have fallen ill, at least once in their lives, after consuming a meal. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 6 Americans get sick each year by consuming contaminated foods or beverages. Getting sick from food is officially called a foodborne illness, but is also known as foodborne disease/infection or food poisoning. Sometimes the culprit is easy to trace, other times it could be any number of things caused by numerous microbes and pathogens. Other food borne illnesses stem from poisonous chemicals or other harmful substances found in the food. Food is a vital part of life and it should be safe to consume. Even with proper cooking and washing instructions, food can still cause illnesses. Contaminated food hospitalizes over 325,000 people every year, with approximately 5, 000 people losing their lives each year due to severe bouts of food poisoning.
There must be safer ways to consume food, and there is. No matter where you live and what the climate is there are at least some types of food that you can grow year round in your home. While it is unlikely that you will be able to replace your trips to the grocery store for produce, you can at least lessen them and add fresh, homegrown food to your dinner table year round. If you are lucky enough to have the space, it is relatively easy to convert an entire room into an indoor garden. While this option may not be very cost effective considering the cost of specialized indoor grow lights and the electricity it takes to run them, having fresh, organic produce year round is a luxury that is beyond monetary value for some.
For those who want to take a more casual route tomatoes can be grown and kept just like house plants in any sunny room in your home. Robert Cox of Colorado State University suggests growing smaller varieties such as Pixie, Patio, Toy Boy, Small Fry or Tiny Tim in six inch pots and keeping one or more around your home for fresh, organic tomatoes all year round. Another great food that is easy to grow indoors is mushrooms. Due to the fact that they prefer shaded, cooler environments mushrooms can thrive indoors year round. Mushroom kits in numerous varieties such as blue oyster, lion’s mane, and the ever popular shitake can be bought from online stores such as www.Fungi.com. These kits contain everything you need to grow mushrooms and in the spring the refuse can be scattered in a shaded area of your lawn to re-inoculate decaying logs.
Making Healthy Food More Safe
It is often assumed that food poisoning stems from undercooked meats or any food at a picnic that has been subjected to the heat of the summer, while illness is possible in these scenarios there is more to food borne illness than temperature control. Think of a well-balanced meal of a lean meat and salad. Many people would assume that food poisoning would come from the meat, but raw produce, particularly leafy greens, are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to food poisoning. Foodborne illness related to the produce we eat occurs when produce is contaminated by human or animal sewage, grown in contaminated soil and/or treated with chemicals.
Purchasing organic produce is always a better idea, as strict regulations concerning chemicals apply, but organic produce can still cause foodborne illness. To remedy this almost any type of leafy green can be grown indoors under simple fluorescent lights inside of Tupperware or other plastic containers. This article from the Farmer’s Almanac explains how to grow your own greens year round in your home in such a fashion.
Growing your own produce indoors can have numerous benefits. Not only will it cut down on the time you spend shopping for good, healthy, organic produce, but you can have produce year round. Since you will be in charge of your own garden, you can monitor what kind of stuff gets in the soil and water that nourishes these plants that will soon nourish your body. You can choose a safe soil, clean water and you don’t need to use pesticides or other nasty chemicals. Your food will be local, it will be fresh, it will be healthy and it will be fun to grow.
About the Author
Anna Garcia is an avid blogger who loves to write about natural health and health related subjects. When she is not writing or digging in her garden she can often be found reading dusty, old fashioned books, the kind written on real paper that don’t require electricity, or wondering the streets looking for the perfect cup of coffee.