We are Humans. We Grow Food.

Posted on Jun 1 2011 - 2:55am by Mike Lieberman

When people ask why they should grow their own food, I don’t break out all kinds of reports and studies that tell how it’s better for you and the environment. I break it down even simpler and tell them it’s because we are human. It’s what we do.

It’s not until the last 100 or so years that we’ve stopped growing our own and put that responsibility in the hands of others. Think about it. Humans have grown their own food for hundreds and thousands of years.

Civilizations and societies were built around fertile land and access to water. Communities were built around food. There is so much that goes into it from the planning to the planting, tending to the harvesting and most importantly the preparing and sharing of it. It’s what brings people together on so many levels.

We now just skip right to the eating, which is often done on the run too.

These days we’ve come to sit at a desk in front a computer all day or in a large SUV traveling through space. That’s not what we are designed to do. That’s all relatively new to us.

This is why I keep it simple and say that the reason we should grow our own food is because we are humans. I’m not saying an entire garden, but growing just one thing will make a difference.

What’s your thoughts?


49 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Brianna June 1, 2011 at 10:25 am -

    I think people feel better if the simply interact with any bit of nature.  Growing food included.  Why else do all little children love to pick flowers?

  2. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm -

    So true and good point.

  3. Julie June 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm -

    Good post, Mike. I was just thinking about this the other day. Growing your own gives you an appreciation for food you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

  4. Anonymous June 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm -

    Thanks for the reminder that DUHHHHHHHH we are humans…humans grow their own food!  I think I needed that smack in the head to wake up and smell the rutabaga!  Anyway, you’ve inspired me to do some growing.  We live in a condo also…have only a small balcony and the HOA has strict rules about how plants must be positioned and how many we are allowed.  So I let my 3  year old pick out some herbs to grow…we have cilantro (used it last night…awesome), Melissa and Spearmint…all his choosing and they smell wonderful and taste great.  Will grow them part in the unit and part on the deck.  Thanks so much for the inspiration and the push in the right direction!

  5. rachel whetzel June 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm -

    A. MEN.!! (no pun intended. lol)

  6. Lee Robertson June 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm -

    Good post.

  7. Trish June 1, 2011 at 2:38 pm -

    So true!  We have lost touch with the soil…and it’s made us very detached when the Big Ag companies mess with our food supply.

  8. Rebecca June 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm -

    Heartily agree. I don’t have a huge garden, but I grow something every year. Last summer I got  my teenager involved – though he was reluctant. I told him it is important to know how to do this. He countered, “No, mom, all I have to do is go to the grocery store”…which went into another conversation. If we don’t keep passing down the knowledge, it might be lost. 

  9. Mrskey1860 June 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm -

    EXCELLENT post!  Our ‘throw away’ society doesn’t realize that depending upon others to make/grow/package what we eat lends itself to people not knowing what they are eating and what it can (and will) do to their health over time.  Like I said before..get rid of the dollar menu and learn to grow/bake/preserve your own!  We all know  we are gonna end up dead some day…might as well do life feeling good inside and out by putting good in from your own toil and labor of a garden even if it all grows in pots and garbage cans! 

  10. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm -

    We’ve come to take it for granted.

  11. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm -

    That’s awesome. Good stuff and keep me updated.

  12. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm -


  13. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm -


  14. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 8:52 pm -


  15. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm -

    I’m sure he’ll start to appreciate it soon. Maybe tell him what happens to the food and the workers that goes into getting it to the store. Either way, I admire what you are doing.

  16. Mike Lieberman June 1, 2011 at 8:53 pm -

    Sadly enough we have become a throwaway society.

  17. Darknesslingers June 1, 2011 at 11:41 pm -

    Really excited that my first seeds have sprouted! I think I put way too many seeds together and not sure what to do now but I think Ill just let them get a little bigger and transplant them into my containers. I love coming home and checking on them and I think it feels pretty great to say “I grew that”! 

  18. Greyinthedark June 2, 2011 at 1:01 am -

    That is a great way of putting it and breaking it down more simply for people to understand. You are right, this is a tradition that people have gotten away from and we should take more pride in what we put into our bodies.

  19. Mike Lieberman June 2, 2011 at 1:45 am -

    That feeling doesn’t get old either. Keep me updated.

  20. Mike Lieberman June 2, 2011 at 1:45 am -

    Absolutely. I’m not into all the reports and studies. I’m into common sense.

  21. Juanita June 2, 2011 at 5:55 am -

    When you grow something yourself, it tastes so much better than what you buy in the store.  Is that because you know it’s healthier for you because there are not GMOs or chemicals involved?  I doubt it.  I think it’s a certain amount of pride at what your labors have rewarded you with and the pleasure of sharing it with your family and friends.  Teaching the younger ones to grow their food is very rewarding, too.  Those of us who know how to grow our food and do so, I believe will someday be the elite and the “salt of the earth, ” again.

  22. Mamasimpson June 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm -

    Great post! This is our first year gardening and definitely not our last. We’re having so much fun and our kids love it too (4&6). We counted 9 jalapeños yesterday! Good to see you on food news journal. 🙂

  23. Mike Lieberman June 2, 2011 at 1:53 pm -

    And the fact that your love went into growing it. Can’t get that in the store.

  24. Mike Lieberman June 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm -

    Sweet. Thanks.

  25. Faeriewhale June 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm -

    I think it should also be mentioned that appreciating and savouring our food is as important. You can’t savour your food if you’re eating it in front of the tv, or while finishing up a report for work, or driving out on the freeway.

  26. Mike Lieberman June 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm -

    Very true.

  27. Russell Franke June 6, 2011 at 10:54 am -

    I love the fact that I start with a small little seed/plant and with water and sun it provides food.  I am still amazed at this process!  I go to my little garden every morning and inspect each plant, anticipating the food it will produce.  I like the way you put it, Mike….it’s natural for us as humans.     

    By the way, I love your site!  Keep up the good work!

  28. Mike Lieberman June 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm -

    It most certainly is. Glad you likes.

  29. Dave June 8, 2011 at 8:16 am -

    Hi Mike, excellent post and i think the comments by others speak for themselves about how important it is. I’ve just moved out of central London (UK) and got a 90 foot garden… at first I was well happy, then over the winter I thought why did I want such a big garden! This spring I decided to plant some stuff that I can eat as a bit of fun and to use up the space…. so glad I did! You get a real satisfaction from seeing the things grow from a seed into something that means something. So far it all tastes so much better than shop bought, it’s cheaper, it’s more fun and it’s there fresh when I want it!

    P.S Your argument because we’re humans is so correct…. Survival is what we are about and our view has been clouded by the world we currently live in!

  30. Mike Lieberman June 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm -

    That’s awesome Dave. Keep me updated!

  31. SherryGreens June 10, 2011 at 4:41 am -

    I just harvested my very first lettuce greens today and had them in a salad for supper.

    It was super satisfying and super delicious to boot. 

    We need to reconnect with our food.  We need to reconnect with growing things, and with nature.

  32. Mike Lieberman June 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm -

    Nice. That’s what’s up. I’ve been harvesting the swiss chard for my smoothies lately.

  33. Anneli Bengtzon Montine June 14, 2011 at 6:46 am -

    I’ve also gotten into that mindset lately! It is like “what in earth’s name have I been doing for these last 20 years??” I decided just some month ago that I need to be growing cut flowers, vegetables, fruits, berries etc on a small but commercial basis. (Did you look at Terra Preta/Black soil, btw? Superinteresting way of getting those precious microbes back into the soil). Thanks for being what inspiration is meant to be from the beginning – walking ahead and doing it! :O)

  34. Mike Lieberman June 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm -

    Thank you for doing what you do as well. Keep it up!

  35. Per-Arne Rudberg November 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm -

    I even say that growing your own food makes you a better person. It doesn’t need to be a lot, just some lettuce or even just herbs. But it will create a new respect for life. 

  36. Mike Lieberman November 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm -

    Amen to that!

  37. Emily November 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm -

    Ok – this may be hair-splitting, but since I heartily agree with your premise that humans should be acutely aware of their food, I’d like to give you some ammo against the hair-splitters. 🙂 Humans have not been GROWING their food for hundreds of thousands of years – organized agriculture is more on the order of 9,000-12,000 years old.  Of course, we’ve always hunted and gathered our food, like any other mammal.

  38. Mike Lieberman November 15, 2011 at 4:45 pm -

    Hahhaa. Yes some hair-splitting. I very well could’ve said that “communities have been growing their own food.” Would that work better?

  39. tripps December 3, 2011 at 6:43 pm -

    YES.  In our (also very human) quest to make the world work better for us, we’ve lost sight of much of our basic selves.  I don’t think we all have to quit our jobs and go live in the hinterlands raising pigs and knitting our own blankets.  😉  But plenty of people in my area spend little to no time in the actual world.  Even just growing some greens on your patio can change the way you feel!  There is something beautiful in tending a little bunch of living things, watching them grow, feeding and watering them, and then proudly harvesting, preparing, and serving them.

    We were not “made” to go from house to car to work to store to house all day, every day.  This modern form of ‘progress’ is unhealthy.

  40. tripps December 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm -

    It’s both!  When you know you’re doing something that’s better for you, and when you successfully do something to directly feed yourself and your family, it’s a huge psychological boost.

    Another awesome thing about growing your own veggies?  Kids will eat something they watched (and helped) grow, even though a few months before they would have turned their noses up at it!  Am looking forward to that next year…

  41. tripps December 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm -

    Excellent point.  If people don’t know much about growing, then they don’t understand how badly Big Ag is messing with our food system.  And if they don’t get why it’s so bad, how can they make informed decisions and oppose it?  So between the ignorance and the apathy…   We have our work cut out for us.

  42. Mike Lieberman December 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm -

    It most definitely is. Progression or backwards moving?

  43. Jtwsweet December 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm -

    Wow mike your very handsome! I am a female and I just pull those bugs off with my bear hand…lol

  44. Mike Lieberman December 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm -

    Awww thanks! Get it girl!

  45. Ericneeds3 January 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm -

    hundreds AND* thousands of years

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