Growing up in the 1960s I was every bit the city girl. I didn’t belong to 4-H and farming was not in my future. In college we all read “Silent Spring” and “Diet for a Small Planet.” We wouldn’t have described ourselves as environmentalists, although looking back, both books projected a tone of concern for the environment. And sustainability was certainly not in our vocabulary. At least not in 1978.
Over the years I have had small gardens, usually not successful. It is only in the last five years or so that I learned about nematodes in the Florida soil. I’ve planted many things in pots or containers because one of my dogs likes to lie in turned-over dirt or fresh mulch, thereby squashing all of my hard work.
Now I have Earth Boxes and if I time my planting right, we actually get peppers and green beans. I’ve had pineapples and so-called “heat-tolerant” tomato plants in the boxes, and have started pumpkin and zucchini seeds in pots. With any luck I will be picking bananas this fall and ripe tomatoes in November. I will have lemons in December, tangerines in January, strawberries in February and blueberries and blackberries in April and May. Wow! When I see this in writing I am really impressed with myself!
I am sure you’ve heard sustainability advice like buy seasonal and local. But there are other things we can do that have an impact as well. I collect rain water in a barrel to use on my plants and flowers. Last year when my daughter moved home from college we started composting and kicked our recycling up a notch.
Last spring, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics adopted sustainable agriculture as a solution to food insecurity. You don’t have to be a farmer to support sustainable farming — for instance, I am helping the Florida farmer by raising bees!
Most crops depend upon bee pollination, so you can thank a bee for every third bite of delicious produce that you enjoy. But since about 1988 there has been a marked shortage of bees caused by Bee Colony Collapse Disorder. The exact cause of the disorder is still up for debate, but it could be a result of pesticide use, viruses, cell phone towers or a combination of factors. Along with temperature, sun and rain, bees are responsible for crop yield and, by the year 2050, the world’s population will be 9 billion.
So, not only are my plants benefiting but so are local farmers. What are you doing to alleviate food insecurity and/or promote sustainable agriculture?