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.