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Posted: May 20, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Take charge of your family's health

The first step can be in your backyard

Spring is not only a beautiful time of year, but the flowers, trees and plants create a lovely and healthy environment.
The ability to grow a wide variety of plants in Newton County is a central part of the area’s story today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Today, you can use that history to your advantage.

When you go to the grocery store and see all the fresh fruits and vegetables, do you know where and how they were grown? We often take the quality of our food for granted and underestimate how important it is to our family’s health.

Our children are even more sensitive to chemicals on our food than adults are, because their bodies are smaller and still developing. Common pesticides — sometimes called organophosphates — can cause birth defects, asthma, and other damage to young bodies. You can protect your children and yourself from these risks.

When children switch to eating organic foods, the level of pesticides in their bodies can drop to nearly nothing. That is one argument to switch to organically grown food.

Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive or hard to find. You can start changing what you eat and stay within a budget by being selective at the grocery store or by growing healthy food yourself.

If you raise your own fruits and vegetables, you’ll know exactly what you’re getting on your plate, and you can save money on your grocery bills. Growing food is a great way to bring the family together, and it is also a fun way to move your body to get exercise.

If you don’t have yard space for a traditional garden, consider planting in easy-to-move containers like pots. Another choice is to use wooden pallets to create space-saving, vertical gardens.

In a couple of hours and with a relatively small amount of money, you can create a pallet garden to put along a fence or patio wall that will put your favorite fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables right at your fingertips.

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