Earth Connection is a school of primitive skills and wilderness survival located in Northern Virginia and North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham area) that has been in existence for over a decade. Our hands-on classes are reasonably priced because we don't believe in big price tags for primitive skills. That's just not natural!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Organic “Victory” Gardens Fight Climate Change

Let’s bring back the Victory gardens. Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, are vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted in home yards and city lots to change local food habits and help fight climate change. These gardens are in the spirit of our grandparents gardening efforts during World War I and World War II that helped to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. Since most of our food travels a minimum of 1500 miles to get to our tables, locally grown seasonal foods reduce the amount of carbon used to produce, package and ship our food supplies. Grow your own food and help save the planet.

Let’s just look at a two small examples, strawberries and butter cookies.

First, Strawberries. It’s January… I have to ask, why do you need strawberries in January? Do you know where they come from? Eighty percent of commercially grown strawberries are from California's farms, where each acre produces about 21 tons of berries. Approximately one billion pounds of strawberries a year are grown in the state. They have to be shipped from California which is over 3000 miles away. Or they likely came from south of the equator like Chile or Peru, which is infinitely farther away than California. Do you really need strawberries? Then, grow them yourself and freeze or dry them for the winter months.

Second, butter cookies. I have seen in the supermarkets butter cookies from Norway. Okay, so we have a great international relationship with Norway, but do we really have to waste precious fuel to ship butter cookies from Norway to the United States when we can make them here? We are killing our grandchildren to feed our children… the death of a thousand cuts. Reduce your reliance on this off-kilter system. Dig up your lawn and plant an edible garden. No lawn??… put plants in pots on your patio or balcony. Live in an a high-rise with no balcony?… use your rooftop, sprout some seeds, or visit your local farmer’s market. The bottom-line is changing your eating habits, eat with the seasons and find ways to beat the food system that is contributing to climate change and global warming.

Let’s fight global warming with a victory garden.

So, with all that said… what if this doesn’t work? What if the change is inevitable? Well, then you are even better off with organic gardening knowledge to help you through the tough times ahead. Expect changes in weather to change temperature and moisture patterns nationwide. The global ecosystem exists in a finely tuned state of balance, and warmer temperatures will dramatically change the playing field for all plants, domesticated and wild. The North regions of the United States are expected to gain as much as a whole hardiness zone or even more.

The National Arbor Day Foundation (NADF) released in 2006 an updated version of the U.S Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zone map, which was last updated in 1990. They have an animation that illustrates the general warming that has occurred from 1990 to 2006. Go to the NADF website to view the updated climate zone map. You can also look up your own climate zone, or compare the old USDA climate zones to the new NADF ones.

Though this may result in the extinction of numerous indigenous species as their growing conditions are modified it will also bring more possibilities for differing plant species. However, change also brings many differing pests and pathogens not seen before because our previously cold winters kept them at bay. Develop strategies to take advantage of the changes like planting more and differing plant species every year.

Adapt, experiment, overcome, and survive.

Learn more with Earth Connection at our Organic Gardening class 18 May.


alex said...

I was just thinking about the Victory Gardens and how they not only saved money but also brought the community together. Now, it is more about food safety and climate control and less about how fresh, delicious and fun homegrown experience. Regardless the reason, i love the idea!

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Guys a fascinating post. It inspired me to plant some stuff in my own backyard and to do a post on my own blog. I've also added you to my blog roll. hope you like it

EC said...

Okay... so I am commenting on my own blog post. But, I thought it constructive to talk about the details of our current system that should not be ignored.

Although, it makes sense to avoid unnecessary transport of food, there are other ways to limit our contributions to global warming trends.

Yes, local food is fresher and probably healthier, and your purchase contributes to the local economy. But food transport, unless it is by air, is usually a relatively small part of a meal's carbon impact. Reducing the amount of meat you eat has far more effect than deciding to buy locally. A pound of beef from the farm next door will have many times the global warming effect of a can of beans shipped from somewhere faraway. Taking a few steps towards a vegan diet will reduce carbon emissions far more than local purchasing.

On another note... this whole eat locally thing is much more complicated than just trying to eat locally to reduce the food miles between food sources and our tables. Reducing food miles could possibly hurt the environment more and lull us into the false belief that we are part of the solution when are actually still part of the problem and making it worse.

How so, you say? There would be significant harm to the poorest and most vulnerable countries through boycotting their fresh agricultural produce. World economic collapse (or worse as we have seen already in many parts of Africa) would have far reaching impacts like those seen in the markets recently.

Then... ‘the only fair
option, which considers the livelihoods of those in developing countries as well as the need to protect the environment, is to ensure that the prices of the goods we consume cover the costs of their environmental impact, wherever they are from and however they are produced.'

Anyhow, locally derived food for thought.

check out the source:

Sherry Roberts said...

I've been planting vegetables in my flower garden for the last ten years and last year I finally claimed a portion of my small back yard for a "real garden" complete with potatoes grown in drywall mud buckets. I don't know if it helps the environment but a fresh tomato or potato from your garden is worth the effort. It's nice to know for sure that they aren't covered in chemicals as well.

I'd love to read more posts about organic gardening. I live in the Fredericksburg area and it's nice to get tips from local gardeners.