Sunday, July 20, 2014

Get Growing!

 -- Quote of the Day -- 

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow, which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."

A Crowfoot Saying

-- What Is The Impact Of The Food On Your Plate? --

Our choice of food really does have a major impact on the environment, on policies, politics, social, economic and cultural aspects of our society.

You can look at 2 systems of your food - global and local. Global implies whether you choose to purchase food that comes from countries with policies (such as racism, war, child slavery, women's rights) that may or may not agree with your own ideals. When we refuse products from one country we are telling them we will not support them. When we purchase from others, we are telling them that the world supports their efforts and policies and are rewarding them with economic benefits. 

Local  - this is a whole other ball game. We might choose to purchase from one retailer over another because we know they treat their employees better, have wonderful zero waste and energy wise policies in place, purchase from local farmers and suppliers, or the company has participated in charities and causes and events that mean something to you. We choose one farmer over another because they have a better reputation and pay their employees well. So you reward them with your business.

But there are other aspects to our food as well beyond economic, social and cultural... and these are biological and environmental... while they seem similar, they are very different.  The biological aspect involves whether the farmer uses monoculture or diversity methods, whether they grow their soil first using natural amendments as opposed to chemicals, whether they get supplies from local sources, whether they are bee friendly and wildlife friendly, and so on. The environmental aspect really implies things like use of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and of course natural pest control by attracting beneficial insects and birds with habitat creation, and providing food and water sources. It also implies energy use, type of fossil fuel used, maintenance of their machinery so the machines run efficiently and produce very little pollution, water conservation, and so on. So biological implies how the food was produced, and environmental implies the impact of the farm - whether they are making the world a better place or just using the resources up. 

Whether at home, on vacation, or at work - when we purchase foods that are as close to where we are as possible we are having an impact as well. First, and perhaps most important, we are helping to ensure food security for our area. We are also purchasing from producers who live, work and spend money in our area - thereby ensuring local job creation and a stronger economy in our area. We are also assured that the food has traveled the least distance possible - and that means less fossil fuels expended in transportation and potentially less packaging.

You know that I'm a proponent of gardening and have encouraged people to garden even in containers or on their roofs, balconies, window sills - because the more they produce themselves the more cash they will save. The fresher the food is, the least travel involved, means that food will have more nutrients - so people will be healthier. The more greenery we have, the less reflective surfaces (Urban Glare Effect) and heat absorbing surfaces (Urban Greenhouse Effect) we have, which improves the environment in our neighborhoods. Plants also release moisture, provide shade, pollination sources, reduce water runoff and many other benefits. If we grow pole beans on our balcony for instance, the balcony will be shaded and cooler, the air will be more moist, we'll have flowers, food and privacy. 

Gardeners also share produce so get to know your neighbors and start exchanging excess. As you become more familiar with the people in your area you'll find out who needs your excess the most, such as physically challenged folks who cannot garden anymore. And we can reach out further to benefit food banks, soup kitchens, and so on. Even flowers are helpful when taken to seniors centers, churches, etc. So get growing everyone! 

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

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