The struggle to live with a lighter environmental footprint can be filled with complications. So many of the choices we have to make can send us into such a tailspin of information and fact finding that it’s oft times easier to give up.
Is buying a new Prius better than driving my old gas guzzler? Should I replace my old tube tv with a newer LED TV? Should I buy local conventionally-grown food versus organic food grown halfway across the country? Most of us want to do the right thing, but frankly, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out what that is.
So today’s post is going to be quick, simple, and hopefully, pretty much foolproof as far as it’s impact and ability to make your little corner of the world a little better.
Yep, grow something, and more importantly, grow something you can eat.
Now those of you who are living in rural areas are probably wondering why this would need to be said, but for the growing (pun intended) number of city dwellers, and even suburban dwellers, the concept of harvesting your own food is not necessarily something that seems “normal.”
There are several reasons to grow. For starters, it’ll get you off your couch and out into the fresh air. Next up is a sense of accomplishment as you see those tomatoes, green beans, and whatever else you’ve planted sprout out of the ground and become food for you and your family. Of course there is the ability to have this be a family affair, educating your kids that it’s not natural for veggies to come frozen or shrink-wrapped along the way.
But probably the most important reason to grow your own is that you will quickly understand what fresh fruits and vegetables are supposed to taste like. You’ll recognize that the store bought, chemically “enhanced”, truck delivered produce you’ve been consuming, are a poor substitute for the yummies you can bring forth from your own soil, and you’ll want nothing to do with those bad boys again. My grandmother, who lived most of her life on a farm, used to say that the only way to eat corn was to boil it in the field while it was still on the stalk. A bit extreme, but my guess is she was right. The closer to the source it’s eaten, the better it will be.
What’s nice is that you don’t even need to have too much of a green thumb to become a mini farmer anymore. If you have a backyard, well, grab a shovel and start turning that dirt right now. But what if you don’t have a backyard? Well, container gardening has come a long way and you can even have a simple system set up on your sundeck. And if you don’t have a sundeck? Well, that picture window in the living room sure gets a lot of sun doesn’t it?
Let’s say you live in an apartment though and want to have a plethora of produce. OK, you don’t have 40 acres to plant, but you do have a lot of neighbors right? Why not start a co-op of sorts where each unit plants a specific “crop” and you can share your goods every month or so. I have no idea how that would work honestly, but the bottom line is that even just growing one item, you’ll be making an impact, and the possibilities are endless.
For some good information on farming without a farm, check out garden girl tv, garden nerd gardening, and my personal favorite (although it really has nothing to do with gardening) city chicken, for all those urbanites clambering to fowl up your neighborhoods.
Growing your own food will save you money, give you access to healthy food, and decrease your environmental footprint by placing your veggie market no farther than the back door. It’s probably not for everyone, but having said that, more of us are capable than we probably think.
Have a cool backyard farm tale you’d care to share? Post it up and let us know what you are growing and where.
Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator.� His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.� “Give people the facts, and they’ll choose to do the right thing.”